Conference Agenda

RS04_07: Men and Masculinities in a Changing Europe III: Constructing masculinities today
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Katarzyna Wojnicka, University of Gothenburg
Session Chair: Katarzyna Suwada, Nicolaus Copernicus University
Location: BS.3.27
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.


Considering the Parameters of Transnational Bachelorhood

Ulf Mellström1, Erik Andreas Henriksson1, Andrea Priori2

1Karlstad University, Sweden; 2Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Reaching beyond the media portrayals of 'dangerous migrant men', we ask what bachelorhood entails for migrated men within the European union. Using ethnographic data from Italy and interviews from Sweden, and drawing on previous research, we suggest that critical masculinity studies can be combined with the transnational family framework to situate the single men in a relational and transnational context. Our results indicate that bachelorhood is experienced as both freedom and a challenge to build a life that stretches across cultures and nationalities. In this context, masculinity is construed as both freedom from relations and as (conflicting) loyalties. Considering some differences between Italy and Sweden, we suggest ways in which to further examine transnational bachelorhood across Europe and across groups of migrating men.

'Performing Masculinity in the context of the ‘Refugee Crisis': African Men negotiating Gender Relations in Sicily'

Marco Palillo

London School of Economics, United Kingdom

Although an increasing interest in studying the intersection between migration and gender has emerged in the last two decades, research on refugee men as gendered subjects is extremely limited in current sociological accounts of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’. At the same time, male refugees and asylum seekers are experiencing a ‘hyper-visibility’ in public debate with anti-migrant discourse depicting their masculinity/race as a threat posed to national security, cultural identity, gender equality and welfare systems in Europe. Here, the ‘bogus’ asylum seeker narrative has emerged to convey images of a dangerous masculinity characterised by idleness, dishonesty, hyper-sexuality, and cultural backwardness. Based on life-histories conducted with Sub-Saharan African refugee and asylum seeking men in Sicily, this paper aims to analyse their performance of masculinity in relation to such repertoire of meanings associated with the ‘bogus’ asylum seeker narrative. In order to do this, I will focus on how participants’ negotiate gender relations with white women in Sicily as a means to illuminate the key role of gender, sexuality and race in framing notions of deservingness, right of asylum and need of protection in the context of the current ‘refugee crisis’.

Gender Differences: from `Old Boys´ to new boys in Germany

Götz Lechner

Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, Germany

Gender differences in mathematical competences have been reported widely and sign emblematic gender roles for decades and generations in our everyday perception. The German National Educational Panel Study NEPS assesses math competencies and allows permission to data from six starting cohorts of over 60,000 persons that were sampled through the years 2009 to 2017. NEPS started with babies, children at Kindergarten, students at the age of 10 and 14, first year university students and adults aged from their 20ies to the 60ies. As time goes by the members of these starting cohorts overlap as toddlers became children at Kindergarten, the Kindergarten-children pupils, student left school, and vocational training led to work. The Old Boys always display their supremacy in Math but: what about the young boys? Where do boys and girls start in this symbolic game, on equal level? Or with very clever math-girls and dreamy boys and is there a turning point when the children grew up?

The data-base NEPS offers the chance to detect a new equilibrium of gender roles starting with the newborns in comparison with their ancestor generations and cohorts as frame, not as family tie.

This proposal promises to present ideas and findings on a core field of representation and construction of gender roles.