Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept Author(s): R. W. Connell and James W.

Messerschmidt Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 19, No. 6 (Dec., 2005), pp. 829-859 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27640853 . Accessed: 23/05/2011 02:15
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R. W. CONNELL University University of Sydney, Australia JAMES W. MESSERSCHMIDT of Southern Maine

the Concept

has influenced gender studies across many academic fields but The concept of hegemonic masculinity has also attracted serious criticism. The authors trace the origin of the concept in a convergence of ideas in the early 1980s and map the ways itwas applied when research on men and masculinities expanded. which in the authors defend the underlying concept of masculinity, the principal criticisms, Evaluating the criticism of trait models of gender and most research use is neither reified nor essentialist. However, can be is sound. The treatment of the subject in research on hegemonic masculinity rigid typologies limits to discursive flexibility must be models, although improved with the aid of recent psychological does not equate to a model of social reproduction; we recognized. The concept of hegemonic masculinity in which subordinated masculinities social struggles need to recognize influence dominant forms. (the idea of multiple mas Finally, the authors review what has been confirmed from early formulations the concept of hegemony, and the emphasis on change) and what needs to be discarded (one culinities, treatment of hierarchy and trait conceptions of gender). The authors suggest reformulation the agency of of the concept infour areas: a more complex model of gender hierarchy, emphasizing the interplay among local, women; explicit recognition of the geography of masculinities, emphasizing in contexts of privilege and power; regional, and global levels; a more specific treatment of embodiment internal contradictions and a stronger emphasis on the dynamics of hegemonic masculinity, recognizing dimensional and the possibilities of movement toward gender democracy.


masculinity; globalization







L he erably



of hegemonic recent

masculinity, thinking the growing about

formulated men,


decades social studies



consid It has


a link between


gender, of men's field


hierarchy. (also



and NOTE: The authors are grateful to the journal's AUTHORS' reviewers, Pat Martin, Mike Messner, Kirsten Dellinger, for extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. We also extend our databases thanks to John Fisher, whose patient and inventive searching of bibliographical provided essential support for this article. GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol. 19No. 6, December 2005 829-859 DOI: 10.1177/0891243205278639 ? 2005 Sociologists forWomen in Society 829




/ December







of men),






boys, feminist accounts of patriarchy, and sociological models of gender. It has found uses in applied fields ranging from education and antiviolence work to health
and counseling. Database searches reveal in their more titles in the than 200 papers that use that use the exact a variant, term "hege or refer to interest Masculini is


masculinity" masculinity" conferences.

or abstracts. text, run 2005,

"hegemonic shown by

Papers to many hundreds. a conference,

Continuing "Hegemonic

In early May

ties and International Politics," was held at theUniversity of Manchester, England; in 2004, an interdisciplinary conference in Stuttgart was devoted to the topic M?nnlichkeiten" (Dinges, R?ndal, and Bauer 2004). "Hegemoniale
The logical, concept has also attracted serious criticism and from several (e.g., directions: Demetriou socio 2001; psychological, poststructuralist, materialist

to quote gists" This temporary and

and Edley
a recent

1999). Outside
backlash that men Yet power and

the academic world,
invention posting?"an are too macho. the issues political A it names

it has been attacked as?
of New Age psycholo in con vio

Internet to prove

determined is a contested struggles

concept. about

are very much public

at stake and private



of lence, changes sexuality. comprehensive seems worthwhile. the concept If the concept still of hegemonic proves masculinity terms. We it must in be reformulated in contemporary both tasks useful, attempt in families reexamination this article.

ORIGIN, Origin



The concept of hegemonic masculinity study of social inequality in Australian
related conceptual discussion of the making

was first proposed in reports from a field high schools (Kessler et al. 1982); in a
of masculinities and the experience of

men's bodies (Connell 1983); and in a debate over the role of men in Australian labor politics (Connell 1982). The high school project provided empirical evidence
of multiple hierarchies?in of gender active projects were These beginnings gender construction systematized and as well as in class terms?interwoven with et al. 1982). (Connell in an article, "Towards

a New



"male power sex relations.

(Carrigan, Connell,
role" literature In turn,

and Lee

1985), which
a model integrated


critiqued the

proposed was this model

of multiple and masculinities into a systematic sociological

theory of gender. The resulting six pages inGender and Power
REPRINT James W Messerschmidt, Department of Criminology, Portland, ME 04107; e-mail: mschmidt@usm.maine.edu.


1987) on

REQUESTS: sity of Southern Maine,

P.O. Box 9300, Univer






"hegemonic source for The thesis gence

masculinity the concept

concept of of ideas ideas and

and became the most cited femininity" emphasized of hegemonic masculinity. a syn articulated in Australia groups represented by the research sources. and evidence But the conver from disparate apparently not accidental. in other Closely countries related too; the issues were addressed being in a sense, ripe by for a




time was,

synthesis of this kind.
The most basic sources were feminist theories of patriarchy and the related

debates over the role of men in transforming patriarchy (Goode 1982; Snodgrass 1977). Some men in theNew Left had tried to organize in support of feminism, and
the attempt (Toison had 1977). drawn Moreover, attention women to class of differences color?such in the expression as Maxine Baca of masculinity Zinn (1982),

Angela Davis
when power

(1983), and bell hooks
is solely

in terms of sex

the race bias that occurs
difference, laying of men. to under the

thus conceptualized claims the category for questioning about any universalizing groundwork was term "hegemony" current at the time The Gramscian in attempts

stand the stabilization of class relations (Connell 1977). In the context of dual sys tems theory (Eisenstein 1979), the idea was easily transferred to the parallel prob
lem about gender relations. This risked a significant a very be misunderstanding. Gramsci's

torical tural change concept Even and

focuses on the dynamics
of whole the And idea classes. change, of hegemony deal

of structural change
Without would the debate of the clear reduced about sources

focus on to a simple

the mobilization
this issue of his of cul model

and demobilization

control. is not

in a great Here


in focus.

is one

gender, of later

large-scale difficulties

historical with the

of hegemonic masculinity. before the women's liberation about the "male sex role"

movement, had

a literature

in social nature



the social

psychology of mascu

linity and the possibilities
1970s, there was an explosion

of change


"the male

(Hacker 1957). During
role," sharply criticizing move


of writing

role norms as the source of oppressive
role ment. theory The provided weaknesses the main of sex conceptual role theory role

behavior by men
basis were, for the early however,

antisexist increasingly

1976). Critical
men's recognized for

homogenizing power. Power movement,

1987; Pleck

1981). They included the blurring of behavior and norm, the
of the concept, and its difficulties in accounting in the gay liberation of men as

and difference which


on a

the other



concepts of




the oppression

well as oppression by men (Altman 1972). Some theorists saw gay liberation as bound up with an assault on gender stereotypes (Mieli 1980). The idea of a hierar
chy of masculinities and prejudice lence the 1970s and was grew from already directly straight being out men. of homosexual The concept to the men's with vio experience of homophobia in originated conventional male role (Morin


and Garfinkle

1978). Theorists









/ December






to patriarchy social



masculinity of body of mascu

(Broker 1976; Plummer
An field equally important studies was documenting

source was local empirical gender research. and local A growing cultures hierarchies

linity in schools (Willis 1977), inmale-dominated and in village communities (Herdt 1981; Hunt
ethnographic masculinities realism and that the sex-role literature of gender the complexities

workplaces 1980). These
lacked, confirmed

(Cockburn 1983), studies added the
the plurality and gave of evi


for men,

dence of the active struggle for dominance
of hegemony.

that is implicit in the Gramscian


the first how adult

the concept was influenced by psychoanalysis.
biographies was personality of men a system and, under in the "Wolf tension, with

Freud himself produced
case history, countercurrents showed repressed



but not obliterated (Freud [1917] 1955). The psychoanalyst Stoller( 1968) popular ized the concept of "gender identity" and mapped its variations in boys' develop
ment, most famously picked and those up the psychoanalysis gender leading themes to transsexualism. power, Others the range within influenced of men's and of possibilities mascu conventional by in


the tension


linities (Friedman and Lerner
Formulation What terms, from emerged structure of power group. things

1986; Zaretsky


this matrix research

in the mid-1980s in political


an analogue, as

a dominant tice men's (i.e.,

Hegemonic not just done, over women was

masculinity a set of role to continue. distinguished

sociology?focusing was understood expectations or an

in gender on the spotlight the pattern of prac that allowed



Hegemonic subordinated in the statistical

masculinity masculinities. sense; only

Hegemonic a minority


It embodied

the currently

from other masculinities, especially was to be normal not assumed masculinity enact it was it. But of men might certainly a man, most it required of being honored way

all other men to position
the global Men masculine in relation concept although ture, These logic of who subordination received dominance to this group,

of women

in relation to it, and it ideologically
to men. a strong masculinity. women, not mean

version of

the benefits could and was supported be


of patriarchy without enacting a complicit as showing among heterosexual did

It was that violence, the

to compliance most by

hegemony it could be and


Hegemony powerful. itmeant ascendancy




institutions, concepts

persuasion. were abstract system. were

rather They


of a patriarchal so gender torical, therefore came

gender hierarchies


into existence

subject in specific circumstances

in terms of the defined descriptive, were his relations that gender to change. masculinities Hegemonic and were open to historical











be a struggle

for hegemony,





an otherwise oppressive, leading

might be displaced by new ones. This was the element of optimism
rather means It was theory. a man might of being bleak of gender perhaps become hierarchies. possible hegemonic, that a more as part humane, of a process



an abolition

Application in these of hegemonic formulated found terms, prompt masculinity, on men was and early research and masculinity 1990s, being as an academic consolidated the publi field, by a string of conferences, supported cation of textbooks and a rapidly and several 1987) (e.g., Brod journals, expanding concept In the late 1980s research The stand among agenda across the social sciences and humanities. was to under of hegemonic in education studies used masculinity concept the dynamics of classroom of resistance and bullying life, including patterns to explore to the curriculum It was used relations in and the difficulties boys. (Martino among 1995). such It was groups used as to understand education teacher strate The



gender-neutral pedagogy and teacher identities



(Skelton 1993). The concept also had influence
perpetrate boys crimes?than commission monic among specific football of more do women syndicated helped crimes of the and girls.

in criminology.
crimes?and men forms the Moreover,

All data reflect that men
the more hold of a virtual The serious monopoly of on

these the


and white-collar in theorizing (Messerschmidt such


masculinity a variety crimes


among relationship and was also 1993) in Switzerland, in England,

of hege concept and masculinities used in studies in Australia, violence on

by boys

and men,

as rape crime

murder and assaultive

"hooliganism" was

and white-collar

in the United
The concept

States (Newburn and Stanko
also employed

media representations of men, for

in studying

instance, the interplay of sports and war imagery (Jansen and Sabo 1994). Because the concept of hegemony helped tomake sense of both the diversity and the selec
tiveness between sports of of images in mass media, of media researchers masculinities began (Hanke mapping 1992). the relations representations are a focus of media sociology confrontational also different Commercial

representations found significant



of masculinity, and the developing field mascu for the concept of hegemonic

linity (Messner
contact masculinity?and

1992). It was deployed
sports?which in understanding

in understanding
function as an

the popularity

of body

the violence

endlessly and homophobia

of symbol found frequently but the sex role

in sporting milieus
The concept and social was too

(Messner and Sabo 1990).
of men's to be very were and health useful. had The been concepts used sexual raised earlier, of multiple to understand behavior (Sabo masculinities men's health

determinants diffuse


hegemonic such

masculinity as "playing

increasingly risk-taking


and Gordon




/ December


1995). The concepts of hegemonic
standing not only men's exposure

and subordinated masculinities
to risk but also men's difficulties

helped in under
in responding in organization was increas to

The studies,

and injury (Gerschick and Miller


also proved of hegemonic concept significant masculinity as the gendered of bureaucracies and workplaces character

and interview studies traced the institutionali ingly recognized. Ethnographic in specific organizations zation of hegemonic masculinities (Cheng 1996; Cockburn 1991) and their role in organizational decision making (Messerschmidt
1995). A particular focus of this research was the military, where specific patterns

of hegemonic masculinity had been entrenched problematic (Barrett 1996).
Discussions of professional practice concerned

but were becoming
with men and boys

also found

the concept


Such practices

include psychotherapy
for youth (Denborough

with men

and emo


tional education programs
These applied

for boys (Salisbury and Jackson
where the concept But its formulation.


are the primary fields in the decade following

was of hegemonic masculinity there was also a wider range of

application, for instance, in discussions of art (Belton 1995), in academic disci plines such as geography (Berg 1994) and law (Thornton 1989), and in general dis cussions of men's gender politics and relation to feminism (Segal 1990). We may
of the analysis masculinities and the concept of multiple as a framework research for much of the developing masculinity hegemonic on men of and categorical models and masculinity, sex-role effort theory replacing reasonably conclude that served patriarchy. Eventually, was picture costs diversity Regarding ular patterns mechanical fleshed the growing research out in four main uncovering and by effort ways: mechanisms tended by to expand the concept itself. The and greater the consequences by showing masculinities. showed how partic not as


of hegemony,

by in masculinities, costs of and

consequences, were linked with hegemonic aggression was for which effect masculinity hegemonic

of hegemony, in hegemonic tracing changes in criminology research

masculinity, a cause, but

a the


1997). Moreover, the pioneer pursuit of hegemony (Bufkin 1999; Messerschmidt ing research ofMessner (1992) showed that the enactment of hegemonic masculin
steep sports, while ity in professional reproducing cost to the victors in terms of emotional siderable Research highly visible, has been such as fruitful the hierarchies, and also comes at con damage. physical of hegemony. in television

in revealing mechanisms of masculinity "pageantry"



sports name mechanisms


casts (Sabo and Jansen 1992) as well as the social mechanisms
"censure" by children hegemony directed at subordinated to the criminalization operate by invisibility, groups?ranging of homosexual removing from conduct. Yet form

informal other

(1993) calls
calling of from

a dominant

of masculinity

the possibility of censure (Brown reporting of the Columbine High

1999). Consalvo School massacre,

(2003), examining media notes how the issue of






masculinity representing

was the

withdrawn shooters

from except

scrutiny, as "monsters."


the media





International research has strongly confirmed the initial insight that gender Vald?s and Olavarria (1998) show that orders construct multiple masculinities.
even linity, neous in a culturally such as Chile, there country homogeneous In another since and generation. vary by class patterns traces Ishii-Kuntz the "emergence (2003) country, Japan, in recent Diversity social with history, of masculinities changes is also in found child is no unitary famously mascu homoge mascu of diverse

linities" development. Gutmann culinity, Mexican historically masking out four insisting constantly Finally, different are dence

a care practices key in particular institutions, of mas identity? developed

such as the military

(Higate 2003).
modern public ethnography masculine of machismo

in the most observed (1996), beautifully a case where studied there is a well-defined "machismo." and enormous was Gutmann interwoven complexity of masculinity even these four shows with how the


in the actual

of Mexican the development nationalism, men. teases lives of Mexican Gutmann urban other social settlement divisions he studies, and are

patterns that


in the working-class crosscut by life. research Challenges challenges. in southern shows

renegotiated a considerable but also

in everyday of body to change. of these

that masculinities

are not

adjustments about

subject in the face

are common, to hegemony Morrell assembles (1998) Africa associated with

simply and so the evi



the end


traces and

a system of segregated

and competing
ideals man?and




of long-standing the hardworking priest family ized and market-oriented models. "salaryman" model of masculinity,

the decline

in Ireland?the celibate of masculinity more modern their replacement by traces in the Japanese tensions (2000) Dasgupta the "bubble of the after especially economy"

1980s: A cultural figure of the "salaryman escaping"
documents diverse responses to change among young

has appeared. Taga (2003)
middle-class men in Japan,

including new options for domestic partnership with women. Meuser
in Germany, change generational women. among (although Many social relations, reject patriarchal own. ity Morris in Britain, and Evans finds in the a (2001), slower

(2003) traces

to changes driven responses by men's partly now women not all) young to men, expecting a "pragmatic are crafting of their egalitarianism" of rural masculinity and feminin images studying pace of change but an increasing subtlety and

fragmentation from thus passed used framework was

representation model and

of hegemonic with


From the mid-1980s

to the early 2000s,
debate contexts that

the concept of hegemonic

to a widely The concept of

a conceptual for research

a fairly narrow empirical about men and masculinities. and to a considerable has attracted

in diverse cultural applied issues. It is not surprising, then, we now turn.

range criticism,

the concept

practical and to this




/ December


Five principal in the early what and what criticisms 1990s. is worth now have In this been section, advanced we evaluate since each debate criticism about the in turn, concept hoping mas

began to discover culinity

from the original retaining needs reformulating.


of hegemonic




of Masculinity

That the underlying
different points of

concept of masculinity
realist and

is flawed has been argued from two
To Collinson and Hearn



(1994) and Hearn
in its meaning, mately The and unnecessary concept

(1996, 2004),
tends to the

the concept of masculinity
of power and to produce and

is blurred, is uncertain
domination. the power typology. It is ulti of men.

to deemphasize issues task of understanding tends

of multiple is flawed


contesting a static

To Petersen
masculinity false unity

(1998, 2003), Collier
because and

(1998), and Maclnnes

(1998), the concept of

or imposes a it essentializes the character of men Some of this argument criti versions contradictory reality. a specific cize masculinity research because it has not adopted tool poststructuralist for instance, the discursive of identities kit?which construction would, emphasize on a fluid

(Whitehead 2002). The concept of masculinity
a heteronormative and ignores

is criticized for being framed within
male-female categories. the body. concerned as well of masculinity as The difference concept of

of gender that essentializes conception the gender difference and exclusion within

gender No linity,

is said to rest logically on a dichotomization
and mind thus marginalizes can deny that deal of or naturalizes in the huge in accounts and literature

of sex (biological)
with a great in pop

mascu deal of

(cultural) responsible there

is a great This


essentializing. in the mythopoetic sex-difference logical cept of masculinity

certainly men's research. must be

conceptual is common movement,


in journalistic however, or even

It is another


interpretations to claim that that researchers'

psychol of bio the con use of


or essentialist

the concept
We would


that social science and humanities research on masculinities

has flourished
employed essentializes multiplicity or of

during the past 20 years precisely
reified or essentialist. The notion


the underlying


is not

the concept

to reconcile is quite difficult homogenizes that ethnographers constructions social and that researchers

of masculinity the tremendous have docu


mented with

the aid of this concept
is the fact

(Connell 2003). Even further removed from
have explored masculinities enacted by peo

is 2004). Masculinity ple with female bodies (Halberstam 1998; Messerschmidt not a fixed entity embedded in the body or personality traits of individuals. Mascu
linities therefore, are of configurations can differ according that practice to the gender are in social action and, accomplished in a particular relations social setting.











of multiple






static typology
matic Gutmann macho

is likewise not borne out by the development
(1996) different Mexican categories

of research. A paradig
mentioned. example, that these the are

is Gutmann's example to tease out is able and the mandil?n?while identities but

already ethnography, of masculinity?for and and showing constantly in detail,

not monadic


recognizing, are relational

are crosscut

by other


and projects. Warren's
another example. Different

(1997) observations

in a British elementary
are found,


of masculinity

generate effects in classroom

life, even though many boys do not fit exactly
demonstrate complex relations of

into the

the boys indeed, categories; major to those and rejection categories.


is now a Although the idea that the concept of gender embeds heteronormativity it is a contested criticism (Scott 1997). familiar criticism (Hawkesworth 1997), While it correctly identifies a problem in categorical models of gender, it is not a valid criticism of relational models of gender (e.g., Connell 2002; Walby 1997) nor
of historical approaches where the construction of gender categories is the object men? of

inquiry. In the development
among men?especially has the

of the concept of hegemonic
exclusion and subordination

of homosexual

divisions of het

were quite central issues (Carrigan, Connell,
erosexuality then. The (because idea that the concept of masculinity a sex-gender one been a major theme in discussions

and Lee

1985). The policing

of hegemonic

marginalizes dichotomy) themes

or naturalizes is perhaps of masculinity

it is supposed

to rest on

the most

the body star

tling of the claims in this critique. Startling, because
and social processes has been of the central

the interplay between


from its beginning.
new was paradigm in which athletes, bodies were

One of the first and most
Messner's the use examined. of (1992) "bodies The account

influential research programs
of the masculinity of and the long-term

in the



as weapons" of masculinity construction

to damage in a context of dis

men 1994), the laboring bodies of working-class ability (Gerschick and Miller (Donaldson 1991), men's health and illness (Sabo and Gordon 1995), and boys'
showing interpersonal how the violence bodies relevance Connell are of (Messerschmidt affected the "new by 2000) social sociology are among the themes in research has of processes. of Theoretical to the discussion construction

explored masculinity Critiques

the body" sense

tendency, ences of men in the men's were not

1995, 2). (e.g., chap. of the concept make better of masculinity as well as in popular in research literature, and women. studies field As Brod (1994) to presume



to dichotomize

part and only at men looking cure a consistently lies in taking itable. The relational or the concepts of gender abandoning masculinity.

a relevant

there observes, accurately as if women to proceed "separate spheres," to analyze and therefore masculinities of the analysis, by men. As Brod also argues, relations this is not inev among approach to gender?not in

to point the experi is a tendency





/ December


Ambiguity Early hegemonic

and Overlap criticisms masculinity. of the concept raised the question of who represents actually men who hold great social power do

It is familiar

that many

not embody an ideal masculinity. On the other hand, Donaldson (1993) remarks that there did not seem to be much masculine substance to those men identified by
researchers man" as hegemonic champion But models. described the young He discusses the case of the Australian "iron surf-sports a of (1990), by Connell popular exemplar status man's hegemonic actually regional



prevents him doing the things his local peer group defines as masculine?going wild, showing off, driving drunk, getting into fights, and defending his own

sometimes to whatever

(1998) criticizes

the concept

for leading to inconsistent
and on other occasions and place. Similarly,

referring Wetherell and

to a fixed type of masculinity referring at a particular time type is dominant

Edley (1999) contend that the concept fails to specify what conformity to hege monic masculinity actually looks like in practice. And Whitehead (1998, 58; 2002,
93) suggests there is confusion over who actually is a hegemonically can enact masculine


it JohnWayne
times, all of

or Leonardo DiCaprio; Mike Tyson or Pele? Or maybe,
also about who hegemonic practices. model.




think the critics have correctly pointed to ambiguities
any usage of hegemonic masculinity as a fixed,

in usage. It is desirable

to eliminate

This usage violates
change But nize in social

the historicity

of gender and ignores the massive
in gender Consider processes an may idealized be important definition

to recog of mascu



of masculinity.

in other respects, ambiguity as a mechanism of hegemony. in the conduct, by the realities of


linity is constituted
"regional" masculine celebrated everyday bration

in social process. At a society-wide
below), may Such there by is a circulation churches, also which state. of be exalted models practice. industrial A refer classic worker,

level (which we will call
of models by mass of admired media, distort, or the narrated in various is the Soviet


to, but



example named for

the Stakhanovite

cele regime's Aleksandr the coal miner

Stakhanov who
gering "shock from a scramble workers" coworkers.

in 1935 hewed a world record 102 tons of coal in a single day, trig
to beat achieved the record. their Part of with the distortion a great deal here was that the famous help numbers of unacknowledged that do, do not

Thus, closely

hegemonic to the lives ideals,

masculinities of any actual men. and

can Yet



correspond express

these models

in various


widespread women and

with models of relations They provide to problems solutions of gender relations. articulate Furthermore, they as ways in every the practical constitution of living with of masculinities loosely to hegemony To the extent do this, they contribute in local circumstances. day they fantasies, desires. the society-wide gender order as a whole. It is not surprising that men who function








at the regional





"iron man"


by Donaldson

(1993), exhibit contradictions. At the local level, hegemonic
social environments, such as

patterns of masculinity
organizations. There

are embedded
are, for

in specific



defined patterns of managerial masculinity in the British corporations studied by and Wajcman (1999). Socially legitimated hegemonic models of Roper (1994)
masculinity negotiations are also around in play housework in families. and the For instance, men's "second shift" gender in the U.S. strategies families shape studied

by Hochschild
and contested peer through we

(1989). Hegemonic
as children group grow structure, control

patterns of masculinity
is made school space, in schools dating of

are both engaged with
and patterns, neighborhoods homophobic

up. Gender

speech, and harassment
would separate expect from

(Mac an Ghaill

1994; Thorne

1993). In none of these cases
defined hegemonic the pattern and

hegemonic all others. A

to stand out as a sharply masculinity or of overlap between degree blurring

complicit masculinities
The overlap between

is extremely

likely if hegemony
can also be seen

is effective.
in terms of social agents

Cavender (1999) shows how hegemonic masculine constructing masculinities. models were constructed differently in feature films in the 1940s compared with
the 1980s. local This is not just a matter of the characters face-to-face written interaction into of the scripts. Practice the film (in this as at the an level?that is, the actual constructs shooting models


actor?ultimately hegemonic or regional at the society-wide level. in the Reformulation the relations between levels


case, fantasy this question of (We will explore section of the article.)


Problem That

of Reification of hegemonic reduces, in practice, to a reification

the concept


of power or toxicity has also been argued from different points of view. Holier (1997, 2003), in themost conceptually sophisticated of all critiques, argues that the
concept than must from constructs the masculine basis power from the direct subordination. structural between of women's experience Holter of women believes rather that we

distinguish of women, and

modern within

the long-term structure of the subordination "patriarchy," a specific of exchange that arose in the context "gender," system to treat a hierarchy It is a mistake of masculinities constructed capitalism. as logically relations continuous with the patriarchal subordination gender


of women.


(1997) tellingly points to Norwegian
not map directly

survey evidence
onto such


the gender identities of men do as attitudes toward violence. practices


among women. At

(1997, 2003) certainly
from least, we the also the

is correct that it is a mistake
direct exercise factor in of the and personal the

to deduce relations
power by men of over gender dynam



institutionalization interplay of gender

the role of cultural inequalities, ics with and region. race, class,





/ December


It is, indeed,







the concept

of hegemonic


culinity is not trapped in reification. Among
culinities ferent studies are branches of locally those of that reveal a single specific quite subtle force, military hegemonic

the fruitful studies of institutional mas
variations, the U.S. for Navy instance, (Barrett between 1996). in spaces the dif There such are as a



New Zealand country pub, which show the interweaving of masculinity with rural identity (Campbell 2000). Other research, especially studies of school classrooms (Martino 1995; Warren 1997), shows the fine-grained production and negotiation of masculinities (and femininities) as configurations of practice. Collier (1998) criticizes the concept of hegemonic masculinity through its typi
cal use ogy, in accounting suggests, characteristics aggressive, not for violence and crime. Collier masculinity hegemonic men that depict and dispassionate?which turn" In the "masculinity to be associated came as unemotional, are seen in criminol solely with

negative nurturing,

non independent, as the causes of criminal

behavior. Martin


similarly observes a drift toward a view of hegemonic
in "saying of that

a type but as a negative for instance, type, just as masculinity of hegemonic is a defense masculinity." gun ownership defending on McMahon's accurate It draws has force. This criticism (1993) in many discussions psychologism in a concept of masculinity fied for (and the excuse) explanation of men's troubles ogy, the health assembled invention guy, and problems under of new of men that and masculinity. in a circular then, This can be Men's

analysis behavior becomes


is rei the

the behavior.

argument, seen in many any of


of boys' the banner character the new become "macho"

education?indeed, of types a "crisis is endemic

the contemporary In pop psychol sensitive

in masculinity." (the alpha etc.).

male, In this


new-age hegemonic rigid,

the hairy

man, can




lad, the "rat boy," a scientific-sounding man (in the Anglo

environment, for a type of and

synonym usage, e.g.,


Because men's some toxic a

the concept dominance hegemonic on is based that permits of hegemonic masculinity practice that in over women to continue, it is not surprising masculinity physical However, violence since actually violence?that and other has does refer stabilize noxious numerous to men's gender practices engaging dominance are not always Indeed, in in

collective contexts,

practices?including setting.

particular the defining a man"



configurations. one's distance

"being regional

and Edley
in certain

(1999) ironically observe, one of themost effective ways of
local contexts may be to demonstrate from a




(1998) sees as a crucial defect
behavior on

in the concept of hegemonic masculinity

that might the part of men?that is, behavior "positive" we once or desires This is a problem serve of women. the interests get hardly a rigid trait theory Most accounts of hegemonic of personality. masculinity beyond a sexual a wage, as bringing home actions such "positive" do include sustaining it excludes

relationship, and being a father. Indeed it is difficult to see how the concept of hege
mony would be relevant if the only characteristics of the dominant group were






violence, nation of

and self-centeredness. Such characteristics may mean aggression, but hardly would constitute certain idea that embeds hegemony?an consent and participation the subaltern groups. by

domi notions

many education) acteristics

(1998, 21) is right in remarking that what actually
of hegemonic masculinity is "a range of popular ideologies " a man.' of What Collier 'being and crime (and, we of what misses, constitute however,

is being discussed
may ideal is that add, health or actual char




research consistently
daily lives of boys and rather consequences resistances. It is men's masculinity, gendered

goes on to explore the relationship of those ideologies
and men?including the mismatches, the tensions,

to the
and the

boys' than


simple in violence,

relationships reflections of health,

to collective them, and that

or models of images to understanding is central This education. has been evident

since Messerschmidt's
by different men either But from ceptable, explains. generated

(1993) formulation of the idea that different crimes are used
of masculinities. or the there Collier finds this idea unac it and universalizing, about surprising templates; too multitudinous idea of diverse practices' in what being univer

in the construction

tautological there is nothing common


is nothing


salizing in the idea of hegemonic masculinity.
the live


and regulation occur in
The cause; con it is

social of collectivities, societies. and whole institutions, practices as a catchall nor as a is not intended of hegemonic cept masculinity prime a means a certain of grasping the social within process. dynamic

The Masculine Several

Subject authors have argued that the concept of hegemonic masculinity is based

on an unsatisfactory theory of the subject. Wetherell and Edley (1999) develop this critique from the standpoint of discursive psychology, arguing that hegemonic
masculinity men. We complicit cannot must be understood "how men as the settled character to an ideal structure and turn to exactly of any themselves embody group of into that question or resistant types, conform anyone


ever managing

ideal" (p. 337). Wetherell and Edley
defining ticular that some a subject position circumstances. authors have

(1999) suggest we should understand hegemonic
in discourse that is taken has but among up strategically by men masculinity Hegemonic as a criticism offered can can dodge adopt multiple meanings?a and Edley meanings when

norms as
in par point as a

that Wetherell multiple


Men of departure. positive point needs. Men their interactional able; culinity type but the same men at other of man but, moments. rather, can


hegemonic masculinity from themselves strategically "masculinity" themselves represents

to according it is desir

Consequently, a way that men

mas hegemonic not a certain discursive




"see" only

(2002, 93) argues that the concept of hegemonic
making the subject invisible: "The individual

is lost within,






/ December


in Althusserian and an innate drive for terms, to, an ideological subjected apparatus To Whitehead, the concept some heterosexual how and why fails to specify power." men and generate their dominance and do so as a social legitimate, reproduce, women use of the concept vis-?-vis and other men. results minority Consequently, "in obfuscation, in the conflation of fluid masculinities structure with overarching

and, ultimately,
Whitehead, come power A to know and related

in 'abstract structural dynamics'
to concentrate to practice themselves, "identity


(Whitehead 2002, 93-94). For
as the means and men by which to exercise gender to this

it is preferable

on discourse work,"

resistance. criticism derives from psychoanalysis. According view, the

model of hegemonic masculinity presumes a unitary subject; but depth psychology reveals amultilayered or divided subject (Collier 1998; Jefferson 1994). Jefferson
(2002) linity, criticizes which has the "over-socialized resulted in a lack of view of the male attention to how in studies of mascu subject" men relate psycho actually Jefferson masculinities, argues their unique masculinities" positions biographies (p. 73). that help and Jeffer them

to hegemonic logically masculinity. that researchers ask "how should particular psychic son suggests that ward off anxiety formations, relate

Given actual

multiple men, with various

to these

and men choose those discursive boys and avoid of powerlessness. feelings

The argument from discursive psychology is well taken and is well integrated with a fruitful research approach. A good example is Lea and Auburn's (2001)
study how tion of the story told by a convicted in a sex-offender which shows program, rapist moves the narrating offender between of sexual interac conflicting ideologies in a way that reduces his for the rape. Another is responsibility example


(2001) exploration of the identity talk of young Muslim men in Britain, showing how they use a specific model of hegemonic masculinity ("powerful,
to position themselves in relation women. we can From this work, in discourse a locally in the face but also how to Afro-Caribbean learn not only how in discourse. can be used racist denigration. whereas the con under a multidimensional men, white men, are we self masculinities Specifically, to promote

patriarchal") and Muslim constructed learn respect how

hegemonic of discredit,

version for

they of masculinity from

are used

instance, the

Discursive cept


of hegemonic

emphasize was masculinity of

symbolic within



standing of gender. Although
involves tural norm. the formulation Gender wage unreflective relations labor, violence, routinized the nondiscursive the limits

any specification
cultural also are ideals, constituted

of hegemonic masculinity
not be through labor, regarded nondiscursive and child only care

as a cul practices, as well as

it should

including through

sexuality, actions. and


Recognizing some sense of powerfully is not free made


dimensions are

of gender such limits

to discursive (2003) gender

in Rubin's any

That there flexibility. study of female-to-male in interaction

transsexual as

us gives is a point men. One or

to adopt



a discursive






reflexive institutional ships. shown The



histories, costs the rate also do, and

possibilities by economic certain among from


constrained forces, and





by Constraint as they

of making of suicide may face arise

discursive people within because

and family relation by personal can be extremely choices high?as moves. in transsexual involved the person. of Rubin's (2003) conviction respondents of being


the costs,

an unshakeable

are convinced

starting out with female bodies and being brought up as girls. They
of being unitary subjects, although they live a contradiction that

seems to exemplify


(1994, 2002) argument for the divided

subject. We

are with that psychoanalytic and Jefferson agree practice important theory resources the complex for understanding of gender Jef However, subject practice. ferson's is not without (Messer particular psychoanalytic approach problems

schmidt 2005), and it is important to recognize
choanalytic helpful always analysis, resonates for being with such Approaches masculinities understanding tradition. a provisional its emphasis accomplishment on the emotional as

the diversity and wealth of the psy
existential and a life psychoanalysis a masculine identity course. Adlerian psycho of gendered power are as

as Sartre's projects within



tions in childhood,

gave rise to the idea of the "masculine
discussions of marginalized the

protest," which




The concept of hegemonic masculinity
awareness acter of of psychoanalytic personality, necessary the in any everyday

originally was formulated with a strong
layered in social and life, char contradictory and the mixture of Connell, and

about arguments contestation to sustain






1985; Connell 1987). It is somewhat ironic that the concept is criticized for the subject, but it is, of course, true that the concept often has been oversimplifying in simplified forms. employed
Does the concept (2002) claim hegemonic as a is defined Masculinity configuration to the structure Human of gender relations. social in history. of hegemonic The concept masculinity erase necessarily that the concept the of subject? We flatly disagree with White to struc masculinity reduces

head's tural


in relation relations


of practice organized creates gender a historically on


dynamic view of gender inwhich
life-history masculinity. studies have become

it is impossible
a characteristic

to erase the subject. This is why
genre of work hegemonic

The concept homogenizes the subject only if it is reduced to a single dimension of gender relations (usually the symbolic) and if it is treated as the specification of a
norm. (Connell As soon 2002) as and one the recognizes occurrence the multidimensionality tendencies of crisis of within gender gender relations relations

tions ence as of

1995), it is impossible

to regard the subject constituted within

those rela

of doing structures

of representing There different the incoher are, of course, ways unitary. one way the subject. The of poststructuralism is only conceptual language and the model of agency within social that; psychoanalysis contradictory provide others.




/ December



Pattern In social

of Gender theories is, seeing every

Relations of gender, gender element there relations has often been a tendency toward functional system the whole.

ism?that and

as a self-contained, of its function

self-reproducing in reproducing


in terms

Bourdieu's new The process, lenge early and lease on

(1997) detects this tendency inmost modern
(2001) life late intervention to explain in gender the subordination "Masculine to maintain. masculine analysis. of women to functionalism of men self-reproducing considerable the hegemonic and

theories of gender, and
domination has given a

dominance not a


a historical to chal made in

system. effort

domination" Although

is open was

requires on statements



this point it is not just

a theoretical

idea. There is detailed work that shows the tactics of maintenance through the to the exclusion of women, ranging from Bird's (1996) work on homosociality Cockburn research by Collinson, Knights, and Collinson (1990), organizational (1991), and Martin (2001).
There reproducing given pattern exists considerable whether evidence that habitus through of hegemony requires Evidence of women. of in the "hard" world form, masculinity hegemonic or any other mechanism. is not To a self a or sustain

discrediting of "soft" options

as well as the policing of men from such mechanisms ranges of international relations,

the exclusion the discrediting threats,



war (Hooper 2001), to homophobic assaults and murders (Tomsen 2002), all the way to the teasing of boys in school for "sissiness" (Kimmel and Mahler 2003; Messerschmidt 2000). InDemetriou's (2001) careful critique of the concept of hegemonic masculinity,
the historicity of gender is acknowledged. Demetriou, however, suggests that

another kind of simplification
internal men's dancy ship and external. over "External women; dominance of one between group the two in current in an "elitist" as

has occurred. He identifies two forms of hegemony,
hegemony" "internal all other refers to the refers institutionalization to the that of social ascen of hegemony" men. Demetriou

of men forms



the relation and been

is unclear Moreover, That on exist

in the original internal


the concept has

unspecified understood are seen

usages. way.

is, subordinate the in There construction tension is,

hegemony typically and marginalized masculinities of with, hegemonic never but masculinity. penetrate

Nonhegemonic the impact, masculinities.

no having impact masculinities hegemonic masculinity.

or of


a dualistic


a conceptualization, misses the "dialectical Demetriou argues, (2001) of internal which pragmatism" hegemony, by hegemonic masculinity appropriates to be pragmatically for continued whatever from other masculinities useful appears Such domination. linity but The a "historic result of this dialectic involving and a is not weaving a unitary together occurs. pattern of hegemonic patterns, mascu whose bloc" of multiple


is the best possible

strategy for external hegemony. A constant process of






This linities. ditions. tion

conceptualization Hegemonic Rather,

leads masculinity

to a different does masculine it "capable not

of diverse

the hegemonic elements makes

in mascu view of historical change con to changing historical adapt simply is a hybridization bloc whose appropria to of reconfiguring itself and adapting

the specificities of new historical example of this process, Demetriou
ity of gay heterosexual

conjunctures" (Demetriou 2001, 355). As an (2001) discusses the increasing cultural visibil

inWestern This has made it possible for certain societies. masculinity men to appropriate "bits and pieces" of gay men's and practices styles an a new hybrid of gender and construct Such configuration practice. appropriation not undermine blurs but does difference patriarchy. gender

hegemony" masculinity, priated aspects and

(2001) conceptualization
and he makes heterosexual some men's Clearly,

of dialectical
case everyday specific


in "internal

is useful,

a convincing

that certain gender masculine

of representations have appro practices, practices may be

of gay masculinities.

and language composite

into other masculinities,
adopted by some of gay "clones").

creating a hybrid (such as the hip-hop



white teenage working-class are not convinced Yet we

and the unique boys that the hybridization

gay masculinity witness

(2001) describes
and sexuality with

is hegemonic,

at least beyond a local sense. Although
visible in the in Western television societies? programs Six

the fascination

increasingly characters the gay male

is little rea Feet Under, Will and Grace, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?there son to think that hybridization has become hegemonic at the regional or global

The concept of a hegemonic bloc brings into focus the issue of multiple hege Jefferson (2002,71) and others have criticized the tendency to monic masculinities.
speak There culture, every ation, of just one is a paradox every structural it is logically pattern?"hegemonic here. Because study defines masculinity every uncovers new ethnography unique intersections "a thousand is always discovers trajectories of race, and one" class, used in the singular." gender and a distinctive of men's

life-history analysis



to define

and gener gender, variations of masculin

ity (Meuser and Behnke 1998). This surely is also true of claimants to hegemony. The point is strongly supported by Messner's (1997) mapping of masculinity poli
tics in the United Yet when States, which revealed most a range of these of movements movements with present diversity hierarchy which is agendas. be the way ties, multiple the examined to think for at gender the closely, and live. Whatever implies return contrasting a claim to

for men contestation niches

hegemony will

the empirical that gender to this issue,

of masculini does not have for

top. We politics.



We now draw should these be threads reshaped. to suggest together indicate We will how those the concept features of hegemonic the original






/ December


concept that have held up well in the light of research and criticism, those features that should be discarded, and (in greater detail) those areas where the concept is in
need of contemporary reformulation.


Should Be Retained
fundamental feature of the concept remains the combination of the plurality

of masculinities
well in 20 years identified and ties than cultural are more others. in many

and the hierarchy of masculinities.
of research studies, experience. in a variety a

This basic idea has stood up
have been institutional

of masculinity patterns Multiple and in different of countries,

settings. socially The

It is also central,

research that certain masculini widespread finding or more with associated and social power, authority masculinity is a process presumes that has now the been subordination documented of in

concept masculinities,

of hegemonic and this

nonhegemonic many settings, not centrality, are


Also well
hegemony, cursive alternatives

supported is the idea that the hierarchy of masculinities
a pattern of simple domination and based on force. Cultural or dominant institutionalization, widely documented the marginalization of socially features and men.

is a pattern of
consent, dis of

delegitimation masculinities.

Also well
commonest in part

supported is the original idea that hegemonic masculinity
pattern in the everyday the production of lives of boys Rather, exemplars of masculinity (e.g.,

need not be the
hegemony works professional


sports stars), symbols that have authority despite the fact thatmost men and boys do not fully live up to them. The original formulations laid some emphasis on the possibility of change in
gender relations, on the idea that a dominant challenge?from alternative women's masculinities. and level, resistance Research reconstruction the situations call and result has pattern to patriarchy, and of masculinity from men the was open as bearers the histori and to of

cal construction a broad over societal time. These

very fully confirmed of hegemonic masculinities. in which masculinities new strategies of in redefinitions the Victorian

idea of Both

at a local formed relations masculinity


change (e.g.,



in gender socially patriarch). admired

companionate (e.g.,

marriage) the domestic partner



What Should Be Rejected
Two features of early formulations about hegemonic masculinity have not stood

up to criticism and should be discarded. The first is a too-simple model of the social
relations Power gle ties masculinities. The formulation surrounding hegemonic to locate all masculinities (and all femininities) attempted over women the "global of power, of men dominance" pattern in Gender in terms (Connell and of a sin 1987,


this was useful at the time in preventing
collapsing into an array of competing

the idea of multiple masculini
lifestyles, it is now clearly






inadequate masculinity dominance lenges marginalized hegemonic better ways to

to our and

understanding of women's relations

of relations

relations with an

among dominant interplay the from women or are


of men

and For

forms instance, chal


masculinities. of costs and

in gender hegemonic ethnic masculinity

involves arise


masculinity and groups,

"protest may



bourgeois in constructing corporate gender hierarchy

of aspects appropriate careers. professional Clearly, required. statements content

of understanding

psychoanalytic monic ent failed traits

the critique of trait psychology
ideas about unconscious they attempted when

inGender and Power, and the appeal to
motivation, to characterize early about hege the actual of differ

masculinity, configurations to offer opened

on trait at best of masculinity, fell back often terminology?or an alternative as an to it. The of masculinity notion of assemblage as a fixed the path to that treatment of hegemonic charac masculinity

ter type that has given somuch
cal writing. Not only the trait approach ally, to gender

trouble and is rightly criticized
concept to be need of masculinity thoroughly

in recent psychologi
but also, more gener

the essentialist




Be Reformulated and discussed critiques is in need of reformulation above, we argue that areas: the the the concept the nature process of sub each of

In light of the research of hegemonic masculinity of gender the hierarchy, social and embodiment, sections, these we issues. offer a line

in four main

of masculine configurations, geography of masculinities. the dynamics In of thought, and some research

following about



Hierarchy with the original formulations of the of the concept, among contemporary different research of

Compared has shown




constructions Structured toward a

The recent research in discursive
of masculinity relations among at the local level masculinities version varies

may serve in all local local

indicates how different
as tactical alternatives. motivation settings, and such local ver

exist by




sions inevitably differ somewhat
dialectical other;

from each other. Demetriou's
reciprocal may change influence by now incorporating more

(2001) notion of
on each from elements

the captures pragmatism masculine patterns hegemonic of relations

of masculinities

the others. Analyses of agency cific Tabar local among masculinities clearly conditioned recognize their the


and marginalized below).

location 2003)

(as discussed can be understood settings,


spe by groups?often and "Protest Noble, masculinity" (Poynting, a pattern in this sense: of masculinity in constructed sometimes men, among marginalized ethnically




/ December


which embodies
Western countries,

the claim to power typical of regional hegemonic masculinities
but which lacks the economic resources and institutional


that underpins the regional and global patterns. authority or of nonhegemonic the durability Research has also documented survivability to race/ethnic which well-crafted of masculinity, may responses patterns represent marginalization, physical disability, class inequality, or stigmatized sexuality.


may be accomplished
gender order rather

by the incorporation of such masculinities

into a

or in the form of discredit than by active oppression can occur This In practice, both and oppression violence. is, incorporation together. cen of gay masculinities inWestern urban for instance, the contemporary position a spectrum have of experience from homo ters, where gay communities ranging to toleration violence and cultural celebration and even cultural phobic denigration and may political occur representation. among girls of Similar and women processes who construct of incorporation masculinities and oppression


The with concept a concept hegemonic masculinity was originally renamed of masculinities of research This formulated "emphasized and on men in tandem femininity" femininities and masculinities, in a of hegemonic femininity?soon the asymmetrical position order. In the development out of focus. dropped relational, some model

to acknowledge patriarchal

gender this relationship has son. Gender is always more of women research,

and patterns (whether

contradistinction Perhaps practices life-history culinities?as as workers


important, focusing in the construction women as are central schoolmates; of

only of gender in many

is regrettable for more than one rea are socially in of masculinity defined of femininity. real or imaginary) on the activities occludes of men the among of men. As is well shown by

the processes sexual The

mothers; in the gender mass


as girlfriends, labor; and so forth.

mas constructing and wives; partners, of emphasized


contemporary urations which on are

focused on compliance
culture. Yet identity

to patriarchy, and this is still highly relevant in

of women's increasingly masculinity

are also affected hierarchies by new config gender women? and practice, younger among especially men. We that research consider acknowledged by younger now needs to give much closer attention to the practices


of women

and to the historical

interplay of femininities

and masculinities.

We of hegemonic that our understanding needs therefore, suggest, masculinity a more to incorporate the holistic of gender recognizing understanding hierarchy, as much as the power of subordinated of dominant and the agency groups groups

mutual conditioning
will tend, over time, relevance tion social to

of gender dynamics
to reduce the isolation

and other social dynamics. We
of men's studies and will from explored

think this

to the problems?ranging of gender dynamics issues of violence and peacemaking?being science.

emphasize of globaliza effects in other fields







The Geography Change theme tion,

of Masculinities a constructions of hegemonic has been specific masculinity to globaliza the past two decades. But with attention growing arenas of transnational of masculinity has for the construction

in locally for of research

the significance

also been argued. Hooper (1998, 2000) describes the deployment of hegemonic in the arenas of international relations, and Connell (1998) and other masculinities
a model of "transnational business among masculinity" proposed tives that was connected with neoliberal of globalization. agendas Whether, or how far, such processes override more local and corporate execu



collection, and

is still being debated. Pease and Pringle
argue for a continued the least, focus we must are on


in a recent international
masculinities regional and of regionally local con gender

At comparatively. of hegemonic structions the effects

understanding understand by



the articulation


systems with global processes.
how of a global

In this vein, Kimmel

(2005) has recently examined
are embedded in the emergence


of regional (white supremacists in the United States and Sweden) Qaeda from theMiddle East) "protest" masculinities.
We suggest linities consider these issues are now unavoidable Empirically for studies existing the following can be analyzed framework. simple at three levels:

and global


of masculinity hegemonic mascu

1. Local: and

constructed immediate

in the arenas communities,

of face-to-face as typically

interaction found

of families, organizations, in ethnographic and life-history

research; as typically at the level of the culture or the nation-state, found 2. Regional: constructed and in discursive, and demographic research; political, arenas in transnational such as world and transnational 3. Global: constructed politics on masculinities as studied in the emerging and media, research and business globalization.

Not only do links between
politics. regional arenas Global institutions

these levels exist; they can be important in gender
pressure regional materials while local orders; gender or reworked in global adopted in local gender that may be important and and regional is symbolically that have local

cultural orders gender provide of masculinity models and provide the at

dynamics. Let us ties.



relation the

between level

masculini represented


masculinity Hegemonic of specific the interplay constructed such as those icance, The regional and, exact content

regional local masculine by feature film

practices actors, varies

regional athletes, across

politicians. ties. Yet reality actualized,



practices shapes cultural

professional over time and

signif and socie

hegemonic or

therefore, altered,


masculinity in the

a society-wide sense of masculine as on-hand to be material domain in a range of different local







/ December


circumstances. work

a cultural frame then, provides masculinity, in daily and interactions. practices mascu As an illustration of this interplay between and local hegemonic regional at the local the example of sport. In Western consider linities, societies, practice as level?such events?constructs in professional engaging sporting hegemonic A regional hegemonic that may be materialized models local "star (e.g., Research at the regional in turn affect level, which athletes") on a provides schooling secondary paradigmatic in sport often is a salient successful hege participation in this particular local setting For exam (Messner 2002).

masculine other

settings. that example, indicating monic masculine practice structure

ple, Light and Kirk (2000) examine an elite Australian
clear of masculinities existed at this school form was

high school, finding

that a

specific hegemonic the embodied of rugby that is, football?a code practice shaped through on domination, not confined to this school?centering of course, ruth aggression, less competitiveness, all for the school. and giving the similar findings (Compare

in which

of Burgess, Edwards, and Skinner 2003.) Thus, regionally significant exemplary masculine models determine?the they do not wholly influence?although
construction It is tempting to regional global tion, tance of gender relations a to assume at the local and hegemonic level. masculinities or authority, of power from simple hierarchy running to local, but this could In discussions be misleading. of globaliza of the "global" is often while the resis overestimated, power of what we are calling the "regional" goes unrecognized

the determining and capacity

(Mittelman 2004). The limited research that has so far been done on masculinities in global arenas (e.g., Connell andWood 2005; Hooper 2001) does not suggest a
powerful Yet cesses of formation on with the capacity to overwhelm in gender the evidence such global dynamics as economic restructuring, agendas have regional is growing, migration, local or and local masculinities. it is clear and that pro


long-distance to reshape the power

the turbulence of masculinity


and femininity (Connell 2005; Morrell and Swart 2005). There is every reason to think that interactions involving global masculinities will become of more impor
tance in gender an politics, analytical and this Adopting framework on hegemony. for future research is a key arena that distinguishes and global local, regional,


(and the same point applies to femininities) allows us to recognize the of place without falling into a monadic world of totally independent importance
or discourses. It also casts some raised above.


of multiple hege light on the problem local models of hegemonic masculin masculinities, Although differ from each other, The with ity may they generally society overlap. interplay mascu wide is part of the explanation. Furthermore, gender dynamics hegemonic to a significant linities in men's inter constituted are, as we have just argued, degree action with women; the commonalities in women's also therefore, gender practices convergence. produce have a certain "family Accordingly, resemblance," local constructions to use Wittgenstein's The of hegemonic masculinity than logical term, rather

identity. In this sense, local plurality
masculinity at the regional or society-wide

is compatible with singularity of hegemonic
level. "family resemblance" among






local variants
level, not

is likely to be represented by one symbolic model

at the regional

by multiple

Social That using cept.

Embodiment is related recognized and to particular of representing ways of the con formulations the earliest in hegemony has not been convinc

hegemonic men's bodies the pattern

masculinity has been of

from involved



ingly theorized. The importance of masculine
many culinity, contexts. as we


for identity and behavior emerges
a prime way indicator of mas that heterosexuality


In youth, skilled bodily seen with have already

becomes activity is a key sport. This

and masculinity
with quest. heterosexual Body


Western linked in
and sexual meat as eating

culture, with prestige conferred on boys
and imagined risks taking on as exploration and con the road also become




linked with masculine
gies that work by

identities. This logically results in health promotion
hegemonic masculinity,


degendering?contesting for

or moving


in amore androgynous

direction. But the difficulties
instance, masculine

of degendering


are partly in embodiment, based as means of establishing practices common social scientific The construction actively, usually more allowed. is now widely

in the commitment

in a peer reputation as objects of of a process of bodies reading are involved Bodies to be inadequate. considered in social processes intricately in social action by delineating in generating as embodied addressed. treatment by the issue of embodiment of transgender social but practice. also that than courses

to risk-taking context. group social more has social not of

intimately, Bodies body

and more

theory of


that masculinities only and social embodiment The culinity need for a more

participate is a participant be understood context be

It is important the interweaving

sophisticated clear

is made


mas in hegemonic are which practices, as a

difficult to understand within a simple model
been reframed of subversion Sharp ing debates the very by the rise of queer or order the gender over transsexualism possibility we life gender experience of gender consider courses are theory, at least have change. that as

of social construction. This issue has
has treated a demonstration with some crossing gender of its vulnerability. question confident



It is therefore

psychiatrists' not easy to be

about the implications
and ?amaste male men" the (2000), transsexuals' can pursue

of transgender practice for hegemony. With Rubin
the masculinities constructed not counterhegemonic. inherently or oppose it, just like nontranssexual equality of treatment is modernity's highlights and we need to understand


in female-to "Self-made men. the body What as the



through which

selves interact with each other" (Rubin 2003,

that bodies



are both objects of social practice and agents in social practice
There are circuits of social practice linking bodily processes and

(Connell 2002).





/ December


many such circuits, which add up to the historical process in which society is embodied. These circuits of social embodiment may be very direct and simple, or
be long they may cultural symbols, and and complex, passing so forth?without through ceasing institutions, to involve economic material relations, bodies. This

can readily be illustrated by thinking about the gender patterns in health,
and medical Among treatment. dominant groups of men, the circuits of social embodiment



involve the institutions on which their privileges a pioneering study by Donaldson and Poynting
class men. This study shows, for instance, how

rest. This is dramatically shown in (2004) of the daily lives of ruling
their characteristic sports, leisure,

and eating practices
dominance cially when air travel, bodies. over we secure other

men's how

their wealth
bodies. expensive A

and establish
field of technologies?computer the physical

relations of distance
opens up here, systems, powers of elite






global men's

The Dynamics

of Masculinities

gradually come

long acknowledged,
into focus

the internal complexity
issue. As indicated

of masculinities
by our earlier

has only

as a research

of the subject in gender practice, we must now explicitly
potential Such internal contradiction, cannot be read within simply practices for instance, may, represent or emotions, or the results different gender all practices as expressing formations calculations a


the layering, the


compromise of uncertain

unitary They masculinity. between desires contradictory about the costs and benefits of

Life-history ture of a project. Masculinities and change unfold, through larger histories one on childhood may detect

strategies. research has

configurations time. A small literature emphasize commitments

pointed are

to another


of masculinities,

the struc

and youth, contradictory

of practice that are constructed, on and aging, and a masculinity this issue. The careful of life analysis and institutional that transitions

reflect different hegemonic masculinities and also hold seeds of change. are likely to involve specific patterns of internal divi Hegemonic masculinities
of their association because with precisely gendered are one fathers focus of tension, the gender likely given in child division the "long hours in professions culture" and manage care, and the preoccupation of rich fathers with managing their wealth. Ambiva ment, on the part of women lence are toward of change to be another, lead projects likely conflict, with power. Relationships of labor ing to oscillating and a acceptance and rejection of gender equality and by the same men. Any sion and emotional

strategy for the maintenance
groups corresponding

of power is likely to involve a dehumanizing
withering of empathy does emotional

of other



the self (Schwalbe
recognize experience

1992). Without

treating privileged men as objects of pity,
not necessarily translate into


a satisfying

that hegemonic of life.







Change ties, may truct basis

over also be




certainly Children criticize

shaped as well

by contradictions as adults have masculinity, change

within a


At the same time, programs. are not of hegemonic "cultural masculinity dopes"; necessarily they may to modernize as part relations and to reshape masculinities attempt actively gender is the "new public management" in public-sector of the deal. A good orga example bearers nizations, tions, equal which rejects old-style and bureaucracy family-friendly not may and believes in "flatter" policies. This Yet too, organiza even the as Meuser

binaries and gender of many educational

hegemonic and interventions

to decons capacity is the and this capacity


employment solve

modernization (2001) argues,

of masculinities generates are relations


that may

problems. lead to further

arenas A of tension. always to the extent that it provides is hegemonic masculinity or reconstitute to stabilize it in new conditions. power tending patriarchal of practice of masculinity) such a solution that provided (i.e., a version Gender ditions challenged. Such movement grant contestation (at the local, occurs continuously, and global through levels), the among efforts of but not in new conditions is open to challenge?is in fact

change. of hegemonic pattern given a solution to these tensions, A pattern con to be

in past certain

the women's in immi rivals for and

regional, models claimants and




of managerial for attention gender

among authority, political so on. The is real, contestation vail?the cept process is historically



does of hegemonic masculinity another the conceptualization way,

pre theory con fail. The may Accordingly, hegemony not rely on a theory of social reproduction. of hegemonic should explic masculinity

among masculinity, in the entertainment industry, not predict does will which

the possibility of democratizing gender relations, of abolishing itly acknowledge power differentials, not just of reproducing hierarchy. A transitional move in this
direction requires an attempt to establish as hegemonic a among men ("internal hege


In this sense,

[2001] sense) a version of masculinity
it is possible to define hegemonic

open to equality with
that is thor




(in Collier's

[1998] sense). Recent
positive hegemony at reform.

history has shown the diffi
remains, nevertheless, a key

A of doing this in practice. for contemporary efforts strategy

to specific in the social in response sciences and prac arise intellectual Concepts are formulated in specific tical problems, and and intellectual they languages new meanings as to travel and may But styles. they also have a capacity acquire they the concept which has certainly do. This with of hegemonic happened masculinity, has been taken and up in fields international from education and psychotherapy ranging relations. Some of the ambiguities that to violence annoy critics





/ December


stem from the varied uses that the concept has found and the ways
inflected This and in response to new contexts. conceptualization finds application itmay mutate thus a is perhaps about general problem As a theoretical humanities. formulation must A mutate?and

it has been

in the social in other in different

into a general may concept specific a style of or a characteristic in argument. is There way talking, analysis, figure with in itself?it in this process is a common that knowledge way wrong nothing must also and humanities But itmeans that new usages the social sciences develops. transform of

the concept by other hands, in different environments.

and settings directions

be open
original. Thus,

to critique and may
while we welcome most

lack some of the substance or justification

of the


of the hege the applications and modifications to the understanding of gender concept dynam masculinity a fixed of character those usages that imply ics, we type, or an assemblage reject are not trivial?they are trying to name traits. These issues toxic usages significant as contributions gender, such as the persistence of violence or the consequences of domina


tion. But they do so in away that conflicts with the analysis of hegemony in gender relations and is therefore incompatible with (not just a variation on) both the initial
statements A has a and the main analysis relevance developments of hegemonic in the present of this concept. of the kind politics. above, suggested In the rich coun renovated growing masculinities, moment

of gender

tries of the global m?tropole, the shift from neoliberalism (the radical market formulated in the 1970s) to neoconservatism agenda (adding populist appeals to
religion, ical and have ethnocentrism, cultural issue. has made and security) reaction gender In the developing the processes countries, to new pressures and local gender orders the way transnational to new coalitions among media, and of groups and an important polit of globalization transformation men. In new

opened also

regional opened arenas of


and have the global patterns

of powerful

corporations, The

are of hegemony being forged. in historically orders gender changing we continue to need which conceptual

making is a process

security contestation


of hegemony importance for



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Willis, Saxon House. Zaretsky,

R. W. Connell

is a university professor at 18 books, including Ruling Class Ruling Schools and Social Justice, Masculinities, is the coeditor of the Handbook of Studies

of Sydney and the author or coauthor of the Difference, Gender and Power, Culture, Making The Men and the Boys, and most recently, Gender. He on Men and Masculinities and editor o/Men, Boys and the University sci education, political social theory, changing

to research journals in sociology, Equality. He is a contributor ence, gender studies, and related fields. His current research concerns and intellectuals. masculinities, neoliberalism, globalization, Gender James W. Messerschmidt

is a professor of sociology in the criminology department at the Univer sity of Southern Maine. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and books on gender and and Crime, Crime as Struc crime, including Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Crime, Masculinities tured Action, Nine Lives, and most recently, Flesh & Blood. Currently, he is working on three research projects involving the sex-gender distinction and crimin?logical theory, the gendered interpersonal violence, and global masculinities, political crimes, and the state.

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