Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Primary Theme: Identity and Equity
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Anthropologists have been at the forefront of cross-cultural research on men and masculinities in today’s globalized world. In particular, anthropologists have critically engaged the concept of hegemonic masculinity (Connell 1995), showcasing the multiplicity of masculinities that exist across time and space and how they are shaped by social, political, and economic transformations. Instead of focusing on discourses that solely link men to violence, dominance, and heterosexuality, anthropologists have showcased other facets of men’s lives in relation to love (Hunter 2010; Inhorn 2012), intimacy (Smith 2017), care (Inhorn, Chavkin & Navarro 2014), nurture (Naguib 2015), and aging (Wentzell, 2013). These works recognize the intersectionality of gender with other social dynamics and bodily processes and how masculinities reflect cultural shifts across generations as well as individual experiences of illness, growth, and change.
Consistent with the meeting theme, “Change in the Anthropological Imagination,” this panel considers the evolving and fluid nature of masculinities across generations, geographies, and individual lifecourses. Despite its numerous definitions, masculinities, in this sense, is defined as anything men think or do to be men (Gutmann 1997). We argue that attention to such changes will lead to reformulated understandings of gender that recognize the resilience and agency of subordinated groups and individuals (Cole and Lukose 2011; Panter-Brick 2014). As men transition through various life-stages —e.g. marriage, fatherhood, grandfather-hood— their ways of being men and engaging with their families and communities also evolves. At a societal level, sweeping political and economic changes lead to transformations in social and cultural values that also impact what men say and do as men.
This panel broadens anthropological debates on masculinities by piecing together understandings of men based upon differences in culture, place, time, sexual orientation, and age. Some of the questions we are seeking to answer include: How are masculinities practiced and lived in men’s everyday experiences? How do men’s aspirations to be “good” men fit with their understandings of masculinity? How are discourses and practices of masculinities adopted, negotiated, and contested, especially in contexts marred by uncertainty and adversity? And, finally, how do ideas and practices of masculinities shape individual and collective agency?
Cole & Lukose. 2011. A cultural dialectics of generational change: the view from contemporary Africa. RRE 35: 60-88
Connell. 1995. Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press
Gutmann. 1997. Trafficking in men: the anthropology of masculinity. ARA 26: 385-409
Hunter. 2010. Love in the time of AIDS: inequality, gender and rights in South Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Inhorn. 2012. The new Arab man: emergent masculinities, technologies, and Islam in the Middle East. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Inhorn, Chavkin, & Navarro. 2014. Globalized fatherhood. NY: Berghahn Books
Naguib. 2015. Nurturing masculinities: men, food, and family in contemporary Egypt. Austin: University of Texas Press
Panter-Brick. 2014. Health, risk and resilience: interdisciplinary concepts and applications. ARA 43:431-48
Smith. 2017. To be a man is not a one day job: masculinity, money, and intimacy in Nigeria. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Wentzell. 2013. Maturing masculinities: aging, chronic illness, and viagra in Mexico. Durham: Duke University Press