men, masculinities and gender politics

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Between Men and Masculinity: An assessment of the term “masculinity” in recent scholarship on men

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In this chapter, I argue first that the term “masculinity” is used in diverse and contradictory ways. I note three problems in these applications of “masculinity”: a slippage from norms concerning or discourses about men to the practices and relations of actual men, the reified representation of masculinity as a fixed character type, and difficulties in identifying multiple masculinities. Second, I argue that the designation “masculinity” and a related one, “hegemonic masculinity”, are employed to refer to cultural norms and ideals, powerful men and patriarchal authority, or both, and that such definitions are potentially at odds. Third, there are times when it is more useful to focus on men, men’s practices and relations. Finally, I acknowledge that neither category “masculinity” nor “men” can be taken as given, and I question the assumed link between masculinity and men.

Citation: Flood, M. “Between Men and Masculinity: An assessment of the term “masculinity” in recent scholarship on men.” Manning the Next Millennium: Studies in Masculinities. Ed. S. Pearce and V. Muller. Black Swan Press, 2002.

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