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Title: Theorising Progressive Change Among Men
Contributor(s): Bloodwood, David (author); Scott, John  (supervisor)orcid ; Thiele, Steven J (supervisor); Carrington, Kerry  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2011
Copyright Date: 2010
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: In bringing about progressive change in gender relations it is strategically sensible to portray change as also being beneficial for men themselves. This thesis argues that the best-known theory of masculinity, by R.W. Connell, is unable to foster progressive change among men because its interpretation of Gramsci's hegemony theorises gender relations as arising only from patriarchy. I use Laclau and Mouffe's post-structuralist account of hegemony to highlight how general processes of meaning-creation become stabilised via activism into discourses, out of which the material structures of social life are created when people take up subject positions in discourses. Goffman's interactionist notion of 'frames' is used to describe how social life proceeds as multiple discourses in social action, while personal identity is 'assembled' from multiple discoursive subject positions. This view is used to re-frame the gender phenomena described by Connell as the discourse of patriarchy, albeit a major and long-established discourse among several discourses dealing with gender. Connell's 'masculinities' describe only the variety of men's relationships in the discourse of patriarchy, while 'hegemonic masculinity' is the privileged subject position 'men' in that discourse. The multi discourse view of social life draws attention to several vectors of major change in the discourse of patriarchy, as well as suggesting the possibilities for significant change in men's gender identity. Finally I argue that most men's current experience of gender is better described as an impasse for men between the discourses of patriarchy and feminism, that the entire range of men's activism can be seen as responses to this impasse rather than as merely support for or rejection of patriarchy, and that progressive change among men can be fostered by a reappraisal of notions of legitimacy and equality arising in the discourses of patriarchy and feminism.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2010 - David Bloodwood
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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