Masculinities, Power and the Epidemic: Messages of Social Research
Publication Date: Oct 2007
What has been learnt about masculinities since the ?ethnographic moment? in masculinity research in the 1980s? We now know there is no single version of masculinity, for example. Rather, constructions of masculinity differ from one culture to another and from one historical moment to another. These findings argue powerfully against the idea that an aggressive masculinity is "natural" and suggest the importance of gathering local information to inform action on masculinities. The paper goes on to explore a new field of research that is opening up concerning forms of gender in transnational arenas and the ways they interact with local gender orders. It argues that these transnational institutions are strongly gendered, as evidenced by the almost total dominance of men in the arms trade or in international organisations such as the World Bank, and by the masculinisation of capital market trading floors, and the sexualisation of women in the global mass media. The paper also offers reflections on men's violence, arguing that men's habituation to violence is generally more widespread than women's. This is due to factors such as the existence of movies which sensationalise violence and openly target young men. The paper ends by raising issues about the role of researchers in processes of social change, and argues for the need to challenge the dominance of Northern-based research.