The failures of the anticipated peace dividend in the post-Cold War world inspired a search for causes of the expanding conflicts in Africa and elsewhere. The answers have been sought for the most part in the greed and grievances that have emerged in our increasingly unequal and competitive global economy. Gender has largely been ignored. The article argues that gendered practices, particularly the search for masculine pride in an increasingly conflictual world, are key to understanding the way recent conflicts have played out. The article also highlights the gendered character of continuing violence in post-conflict African societies and argues for a gendered analysis of conflict if social justice is to be achieved.
At the Danish national stadium on 5th of June 1941, on Denmark's annually celebrated Constitutional Day, no less, the Viennese football team Admira demonstrated the superiority of Greater Germany with a 4–1 victory over a select Copenhagen team, thereby triggering among the young Danish male spectators a demonstratively negative reaction to a highly politicized programme of athletic collaboration with the Germans. During and especially after the game the German soldiers in the stands were subjected to humiliating jibes and even physical assault. The fact that the Austrians won the game no doubt played a part in the negative mood, but this is hardly an adequate explanation of the disarray, since spectator culture at that time in the history of Danish athletics was characterized by remarkable forbearance. In interpreting these events this article draws attention to the affinities between forms of protest or uprising characteristic of political commitment and the more general attraction to involvement in and passion for the sports arena. However different in intent and reflective verbalization, the action-oriented forms of expression that are particularly distinct in sporting events and masculine working class culture can, as this example shows, also function as a genuine means of political protest. Furthermore, the event is analysed within the framework of a gender theory that interprets masculinity in the framework of a gender of extremes more inclined to move towards or beyond the limits of average human expression.
Gender research on social movements in the 1960s and 1970s has often focused on the womens liberation movement. This article focuses on the radical left social movement during the same period. It shows that the production of political ideology is closely related to the production of masculinity. Two debates of major importance for the Swedish radical left during the 1960s and 1970s are analysed: first a debate about revolution versus reformism, then a debate that focuses on the conflict between the private and the political. In these debates it can be observed how masculinity was constructed in intersection with class and political ideology. Clearly, it was difficult to challenge existing masculinity discourses. In the radical left the masculinity ideal was based on conflict, confrontation and struggle; in order to be a real revolutionary you had to internalise these ideals.
This article examines how gender, race and class intersect with discourses of the struggle against apartheid in one of South Africas former black universities situated in the countrys northernmost province of Limpopo. The article, an analysis of left wing student politics, shows that the male student politicians in Limpopo draw on struggle discourses of warfare and violence that become hegemonic in their own right, which calls for an intersectional reading of masculinities not only with race and class, but also with history and local context. The argument builds on insights gained in recent studies of masculinities in South Africa, where Connells conceptual framework of hegemonic masculinity has been applied to the understanding of how powerful and dominant versions of masculinity subordinate less dominant masculinities as well as women. Simultaneously, the argument is inspired by nuanced criticisms of that very framework made in anthropology and psychology, where hegemonic masculinities are generally seen to be overly categorical, too sealed off from other social forces (or hegemonies) and not sufficiently grounded in a specific socio-cultural context.
This article is about violence and the construction of hyper-masculinity among male left-wing activists in Denmark. It is based on qualitative empirical research among activists in the radical left-wing movement in Copenhagen conducted from 2001–2005. The aim has been to grasp the constructions of political identities and masculinities in the most radical and violent part of the movement. The analysis is twofold: the first part is on gender relations and debates about internal violence in the movement; the second part goes deeper into the construction of hyper-masculinity through narrative life-history interviews with leading activists about political upbringing, political values, gender equality, and confrontations with the police and the neo-Nazis. One of the main findings is that the construct of hyper-masculinity and violence is rooted in the political learning and development that has taken place in the organizations and movements in which activists have participated, in encounters with other violent men, and in the internal political culture within the movement where the norm becomes machismo, which implies dominance and oppression of women as well as men who cannot live up to the norms. The article emphasizes ambivalences in the male activists political identities: on the one hand supporting gender equality and feminism and on the other hand using violence as an essential part of political practice within the movement and sometimes suppressing women.
The construction of radical right populist resistance around metaphors of masculinity at the beginning of the 21st century is a little researched area. This article accounts for the discursive redefinitions of Swedishness enabled by conceptual metaphors in order to accommodate centrally located heterosexist masculinities at the intersection of gender, class, and race, as heralded by the main Swedish radical right populist party, the Sweden Democrats (SD). The analysis of articles published by the SD leader in SD-Kuriren, the partys main media outlet, focuses on a well defined timeframe in the recent history of radical right populism in Sweden, from Swedish Lutheran Church elections in 2005, through Swedish Parliamentary elections in 2006, up to the church elections in 2009 and the subsequent Parliamentary elections the following year. The staunchly restrictive definition of the family – examined from the point of view of the Lakoffian nation is a family conceptual metaphor – appears as the heteronormative domain of the Swedish male, and bans the existence of family narratives that inlude ethnically diverse or sexually different Others. I maintain that in the Swedish case, the nation metaphor accommodates for the contesting conservative son who attempts to replace the mismanaging father of the national family.