Masculinities : Trans/forming Men : Changes, Resiliences and Reconfigurations

AG About Gender - Rivista internazionale di studi di genere

Publié le 23 août 2016 par Equipe GIS IdG

Edited by : Krizia Nardini (Universitat Obierta de Catalunya) and Stefano Ciccone (Genoa University).

Scholarship on masculinities is now reaching more than three decades of research on men’s practices and imaginaries. In this journey, current productions in critical studies of men and within men’s antisexist activism offer different dialogues with feminist activisms and academic positionings.

The category of hegemonic masculinity, proposed by Connell et al in 1985, has taken on a central role in the sociological discussion about the position of men in social hierarchies and in the construction of gender identity. The formulation of the concept in Gender and Power in 1987, then elaborated upon in 1995 in Masculinities, has been of relevant importance within masculinity research, leading to the emergence of its own criticisms and revisions. In 2005 Connell and Messerschmidt offered a critical reading of this category, emphasising its productive uses and its limitations. Main purpose of this category is to give account of the plurality of masculinities and of the different relations of power among them. Masculinity, therefore, is understood not as homogeneous universe but rather as a power dynamic among social actors articulated in time and in space, contextually located. The issues “Masculinities : Trans/forming Men : Changes, Resiliences and Reconfigurations” intend to problematise the category of hegemonic masculinity exploring its limitations and offering possible updates.

Many authors have proposed, for example, a critical analysis of the influence of Gramscian and Marxist thought on the hegemonic masculinity paradigm, proposing an new reading of this approach through Foucauldian categories (Pringle 2005). Informed by post-structuralist and Queer theories, a body of theoretical perspectives within Gender Studies has emerged adding complexity within theorising masculinity (Butler 2005). Studying men and masculinities is becoming more and more interdisciplinary, enriched by differing theoretical approaches. Another theoretical reference to rethink masculinity has certainly been the work of Pierre Bourdieu on incorporation processes in the social construction of gender identities (Bourdieu 1998).

One important question we would like to answer is : which are the current lines of thought for understanding different social dynamics in masculinities as well as in men’s personal experiences ?

Men’s involvement in questioning patriarchy and sexism do exist ; however, is it far smaller than other anti-sexist political and social movements like feminism and LGBTQ activism. The emergence of men’s studies, occurring mainly in the Anglo-Saxon context, does not appear to have a direct connection between academic research and social activism, as in other gender-related feminist and LGBTQ studies. This seems due to the weakness of men’s activism, whose difficulty is related to the convergence between dominant masculinity (white, heterosexual, middle-class, etc.) and its unmarked subject position, which does not allow a critical interrogation of men’s position and practices.

Masculinity research can offer tools to dig into men’s tensions within social transformation processes. Important theme, for this call for articles, is men’s positioning within social change and their personal negotiations.

This issue of AboutGender wants to inquire into the current state of affairs in masculinities research : its theoretical specificities (if any), its relations with different currents in gender studies and with different political/activist stands, especially considering the intersections of masculinity research, queer perspectives and LGBTQ studies.

Transversal theme in these differing theoretical outlooks is the relation between power dynamics and emancipatory processes engendered by the position of marginalized subjects. Accordingly, we are willing to interrogate the norm of masculinity and observe the ways in which hegemonic subjects do experience social discipline as well. At the same time, we would like to critically look at the processes of normativization and becoming-hegemonic occurring among marginalised subjects’ experiences and socialization.

Deconstructing the symbolic location of normative masculinity, as the model of hegemonic subject of western modernity, is relevant in order to understand current changes when it comes to nationhood, neoliberal citizenship and political subjectivity.

We encourage both theoretical works as well as empirically-informed articles that, using an interdisciplinary approach, can offer interesting readings of current changes in masculinities and their configurations when it comes to male socialization, media representations, and men’s experiences at work as well as with care work, and illuminate the contradictory elements within transformations. We are interested in the interactions between material-discursive processes, looking at the relations between subjectivity, corporeality and sexuality, with the aim of understanding social change, resiliences and reconfigurations.
We prioritize works that pay attention to masculinities in the South-European and Mediterranean area. We are particularly interested in articles that tackle the relations between constructing masculinities and migration processes, war and conflict, discourses on fundamentalisms, and xenophobic reactions.

Scholars and researchers are invited to submit articles that arise from diferent fields, examples of relevant topics include, but are not limited to the following themes :

  • Dominant representations of masculinities in processes of gender-related changes
  • Hegemonic masculinities or hegemony of men in social transformations
  • Migrations and masculinities : shifting understanding of manhood and norms
  • Changing men between resistances and resilience
  • Configurations of male bodies
  • Men and care work
  • Fatherhood as a location of contradictions : changes and conflicts
  • Rethinking masculinity in the Mediterranean Area
  • Men’s movements and their differing positionings
  • Intersections between critical approaches to masculinities, queer critique and LGBT activism
  • Crisis in the models of citizenship and national powers, new forms of governance, crisis within the ideal of modern liberal subjecthood and changes in masculinites.

Papers should be between 5000 and 8000 words (excluding bibliography) long. Please follow the instructions gathered in the Author guidelines. Contributions should be accompanied by : a brief abstract (maximum length : 150 words) ; some keywords (from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 5).

Abstract and keywords should be both in English. All texts will be transmitted in a format compatible with Windows (.doc or .rtf), following the instructions provided by the Peer Review Process.

Contributions must be sent by 15th October 2016.​

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