Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS04_05: Men and Masculinities in a Changing Europe I: Caring Masculinities
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Katarzyna Suwada, Nicolaus Copernicus University
Session Chair: Katarzyna Wojnicka, University of Gothenburg
Location: BS.3.17
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

Session Abstract

In recent years two major trends linked to the transformation of masculinities can be observed in European societies. On the one hand, researchers recognise significant changes in both models of masculinities and male gender roles. These changes have been followed by a switch in public discourses and politics focused on men and boys (Scambor at al. 2014). Moreover, one can identify a flourishing number of grass-roots initiatives oriented on men and gender equality (Wojnicka 2016). Yet, on the other hand, Europe is also facing a crisis of liberal democracy, which affects the value of gender equality, and in some regions a re-traditionalisation of gender roles becomes excessively visible. Far-right groups, dominated by men, are gaining greater popularity by attacking (male) immigrants and refugees coming from other parts of the world. Such trends are connected to the resurrection of hegemonic and toxic forms of masculinities. They also create new forms of marginalised masculinities. Therefore, the aim of this RS is to address the issues connected to various models of masculinities and power relations between genders.

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Caring Masculinities. Constructing Masculinity and Care by Male Nurses

Urszula Kluczyńska

Collegium Da Vinci, Poland

The modern model of nursing, developed in the 19th century by Florence Nightingale, contributed to this profession being associated with femininity, which prevented men from entering it. On average, one person in ten working in nursing is a man, but in Poland men constitute only 1.8% of the nursing staff.

The aim of the presentation is to describe how male nurse define masculinities in the context of care.

The analysis is based on individual, semi-structured, in-depth interviews. The study included 24 licensed male nurses working in the profession for at least 2 years. Data were collected between January 2014 and December 2015 in Poznan, Poland.

The analysis allowed to describe some crucial aspects of definig care by male nurses. They percieved care as inherent aspect of work and life, defined care as care for and care about, but also undrelined emotional labour. Masculinities were defined in the context of care. My research emerged five descripsions. Two of them were defined in context of negation: in first masculinity was defined in oposition to feminity, and in second caring is treated as a non-masculinity. Next two description of masculinity were conetcted with certainty: sens of realization hegemonic masulinity, and acceptance of caring masculinity. The last way of describing masculinity was linked with suspending gender in context of care.

My presentation allow me to describe in more detail those way of defining masculinity by male nurse in context of care, but also relates my analysis to current masculinities theories.

Vulnerability and Caring Among Rural Men in Northern Sweden

Lisa Kristina Ridzén

Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Men living in rural areas in Northern Sweden are often depicted stereotypically. Traditionally masculine, less modern and emotionally “harder” than urban men (and others): these stereotypes exist both in society in general, as well as in the field of rural gender identity research. As a result, we know little about how men care, or how they deal with vulnerable aspects of life. By describing the rural northern man as emotionally resolute, physically strong and naïve; and by focusing research on these traditional aspects of men’s ways of doing gender; a binary way of understanding gender, as well as problematic masculinity norms, are reproduced.

Theoretically, the study draws on intersectional, post-structural, post-colonial and feminist approaches to gender, place and emotions. Building on in-depth interviews with men living in the rural north of Sweden the chapter examines and critically discusses how men constitute vulnerability and care, and how their conceptions of these emotions and practices can be understood in relation to historically and culturally constructed norms regarding place and gender. Following Butler’s (2006) theories of precarious lives and the need for recognition of dependency, and Fotaki’s and Harding’s (2018) theories of relationality and ethics of care, the chapter intends to highlight and discuss how men’s constitution of vulnerability and care can be understood in wider societal terms. From a feminist perspective on relationality, what do men’s way of doing care and vulnerability mean for society? By focusing on the constitution of vulnerability and care among a group of men that is frequently depicted through stereotypes I intend to critically investigate the intersections of norms of gender and place with the overall aim of challenging destructive masculinity norms.

“What I’ve learned is not to beat up my missus and kids”: Gender Equality and the Facilitation of Caring Masculinities through a Relationships Project.

Michael Ward

Swansea University, United Kingdom

Non-formal educational settings have been an often neglected area within the studies of men and masculinities. It is within these non-school spaces that the most marginalized young men (aged 16-24) are likely to be situated. These sites include a range of services including secure or exclusion units, youth based work, Antenatal and postnatal care, mental health based programmes, parenting classes, mothers’ and fathers’ only groups and lifestyles classes. They are also more likely to include care leavers, young or expecting parents, those at high risk of mental health issues and under the care of social services. The services that they access are often disjointed which can exacerbate social inequality. One approach to challenge this has been the adoption of multi-agency teams working collaboratively to create a team around a family and marginalized young people. These teams include a range of health and social care professionals such as midwives, early years practitioners, family facilitators, social workers, youth workers, early language development workers and teachers. Drawing on a yearlong qualitative study of one such multi-agency team in a Welsh coastal city in the UK, this paper focuses on an ethnography of a six week relationship education class. In this paper I explore how non-formal educators promote healthy relationships through teaching men about toxic displays of masculinity and gender based violence, promoting values of care, respect, stability and reliability. In this paper I argue that it is through such practices that more damaging displays of masculinity can be challenged. This study adds to the emerging concept of ‘caring masculinities’ and how non-formal educational settings could be at the vanguard of having a positive impact on gender equality ‘downstream’.

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