Saturday, April 28, 2012

CFA: Young Masculinities: Challenges, Changes and Transitions

Young Masculinities: Challenges, Changes and Transitions

A BSA Youth Study Group One day seminar, Friday 2nd November 2012

BSA Meeting room, Imperial Wharf, London

Key note speaker: Prof Eric Anderson, University of Winchester

Since the emergence of critical masculinities studies in the late 1970s, research has started to focus on men as gendered beings. Originally, this examined the negative components of masculinity, that there exist a plurality of masculinities, and how men are stratified within society. Yet, despite this academic endeavour, debates about whether masculinity is in crisis have often taken centre stage, especially in the popular press.

In the academic sphere, Connell’s hegemonic masculinity theory and its argument of a hierarchical stratification of masculinities has largely been the theory of choice; and it has been adopted by scholars across a broad range of academic disciplines. However, recent work such as Inclusive Masculinity (2009) by Eric Anderson and The Declining Significance of Homophobia (2012) by Mark McCormack, has sought to challenge the centrality of homophobia as a key component of men’s identities in the 21st century. Diverging from hegemonic masculinity theory, they argue that we have witnessed an attenuation of homohysteria (i.e. the fear of being homosexualized). In doing so, such texts highlight a need for us to fully re-examine what it is to be a man, and to develop our understanding of how masculinities are constructed, performed and consumed after a period of significant social, cultural and economic change.

The shifting and complex nature of this gender category belies and unsettles fixed normative definitions of masculinity such as ‘having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man’, and requires that we explore the opening up of behaviours conducive with maintaining a heterosexual identity. This seminar aims to use the lens of youth to consider the questions that Anderson, McCormack and others have invited us to discuss, document and debate.

The scope of the day is extremely wide and we encourage empirical and accessible theoretical papers that consider the changes, challenges, and continuities to and of masculinity in relation to sexuality, social class, ethnicity, culture, education, employment, consumption, leisure, activism, violence, friendships, partnerships, parenthood or any combination of such issues.

We invite abstracts of 200 words (max), which should be sent to Steve Roberts ( AND Mark McCormack ( by 1st August 2012. Abstracts are welcomed from academics at all career stages, including doctoral researchers. It is intended that this seminar be the initial stage for the development of a proposal for a special issue of the Journal of Social Issues.

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