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Synopses & Reviews
Here is a powerful reply to Iron John, a fresh look at the complicated nature of what R.W. Connell calls "masculinities." One of the most important voices in the new feminist scholarship by men, Connell provides a nuanced and incisive analysis of how our notions of masculinity have evolved in psychoanalysis, social science, and historically in the creation of a global economy. There is not one but many masculinities, he claims, in a bold critique of the "men's movement" and other simplistic approaches to sexual identity. Instead, Connell delineates the complicated dynamics of masculine politics and recent changes in male identity.
Drawing on rich ethnographic work, Connell offers portraits of dozens of men of different classes, some working to change masculinities, some resisting change. Eel openly disparages his wife: "The first chance I can see to get rid of her, she's gone." Mark, who calls himself "a very straight gay," thinks men should behave in traditionally masculine ways. "If you're a guy why don't you just act like a guy?" he asks. Danny, undertaking the "long haul" of his own sexism, admits, "It's hard not to be aggressive sometimes."
Connell offers the first critical history of ideas and the most sophisticated theoretical analysis of masculinity to date. His attempts to understand changes in male identity and to think about these issues on a global scale are unique. Integrating social science, feminist theory, gay theory, and psychoanalysis in an innovative yet unusually accessible way, he develops a new theory of masculinity politics. This is a book for everyone interested in the history of western masculinities and the sexual politics of the contemporary era.
This is an exciting new edition of R.W. Connell's groundbreaking text, which has become a classic work on the nature and construction of masculine identity. In its first edition, Masculinities provided one of the most important voices in feminist scholarship by men. Connell argued that there is no such thing as a single concept of masculinity, but, rather, that many different masculinities exist, each associated with different positions of power. In a world in which gender order continues to extend privilege to men over women, but that also raises difficult issues for men and boys, Connell's account is more pertinent than ever.
In the new edition's substantial new introduction and conclusion, Connell discusses the development of masculinity studies in the ten years since the book's initial publication. He explores global gender relations, new theories, and practical uses of masculinity research. Looking to the future, his new concluding chapter addresses the politics of masculinities, and the implications of masculinity research as a way of understanding current world issues. Against the backdrop of an increasingly divided world, one that is presently dominated by neo-conservative politics, Connell's account highlights a series of compelling questions about the future of human society.
This second edition of Connell's classic book will be essential reading for students taking courses on masculinities and gender studies and will be of interest to students and scholars across the humanities and social sciences.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -279) and index.
About the Author
R. W. Connell is Professor of Education at the University of Sydney in Australia. He is the author of The Men and the Boys (California, 2001) among other books on gender.
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