A discourse of multiplicity in the study of masculinities has identified and given voice to an ever-increasing spectrum of both men’s and women’s experiences. This article extends the concept of multiple masculinities not by continuing to identify the experiences of diverse constituencies whose masculine performances have yet to be heard, but by identifying multiple masculinities/identities within the individual self. Singular masculine identities such as ‘gay man’, ‘pro-feminist’ or ‘men’s rights advocate’ rarely communicate the subtlety of a person’s genuine beliefs: they are more of a caricature than a representation of the truth. Rather than seeking ‘balance’ between aspects of the gendered self or a ‘middle ground’ between different approaches to the study of masculinities, via an auto-ethno-graphic analysis of the themes of sexuality and style, this article views the masculine self and the study of masculinities in a more rhizomatic fashion, noting there are multiple positions with multiple connections to one another that comprise the greater whole.
This study offers a comparative analysis of symbolic mechanisms that legitimize hegemonic masculinity in Swedish and Ukrainian society, explored through the example of two historical models of masculinity – Vikings and Cossacks – and their integration into contemporary contexts. These images are analyzed as symbolic tools that have a potential to politically mobilize and reinforce feelings of national belonging and militaristic masculinity. Through analysis of visual imagery and references to Vikings and Cossacks related to commemoration politics, socialization, consumer culture and nationalism, the study illustrates the significance of political, economic and socio-cultural conditions in shaping their contemporary evaluations and symbolic utilization. The national building processes in a newly created Ukrainian state, underpinned by aspirations to restore traditional gender relations, contribute to the glorification of Cossacks as national heroes and their symbolical integration into the mainstream national ideology in Ukraine. In contrast, the dominant evaluations of Vikings in Sweden are more reserved and critical. Vikings represent a questionably heroic image, which is rather marginalized and appropriated by radical national groups. A significant difference between the imagery of Vikings and Cossacks also lies in their potential to construct images of Sweden and Ukraine respectively, from within and from outside the nation. The study demonstrates that the social connotations of Viking and Cossack imagery are complex, contested and in constant flux and that an important mechanism of assuring the hegemony of ideas connoted by this imagery is their continual reiteration and institutional reproduction.
This article highlights how environmental issues influence transport planning, and how they make transport planners rethink previous categorizations of user groups. The introduction of an environmental discourse leads to a questioning of men’s travel activities, i.e. car driving. However, the critique against men’s travelling does not address all men. Instead, two types of masculinities are constructed in the local planning discourse: the first one is a ‘problematic’ obsolete old driver. The second one is a young ‘quality conscious’ man who opts for new technological solutions. The relationship between these two constructions of masculinities is hierarchical. The transport planners interpret it as their responsibility to make sure that public transport is regarded as attractive to younger men and their imagined ‘needs’. The elderly men however, are made scapegoats and are blamed for their unsustainable travelling. These rather stereotypical constructions of men also include a negative perception of elderly men. The analysis is based on discussions in eight focus groups, accomplished in 2009 with 36 transport planners and politicians (24 men and 12 women) working with the planning of the future public transport system in Malmö city in the south of Sweden.
Common Norwegian conceptions of team handball define it as a woman’s sport. What happens when Norwegian media portray men playing a women’s sport? This article investigates the definitional paradox of Norwegian handball by investigating TV2’s representations of men’s handball. To develop an understanding of contemporary gender dynamics, Norwegian handball is explored and analyzed as embodying a form of gender tension. The socio-cultural solution to such tensions is analytically manifested when the concept of hegemonic masculinity (Connell 2005), as an ideal symbolic form of masculinity, is combined with Bourdieu’s (1991) concept of symbolic power. Norwegian journalists are analyzed as producing contextually ideal masculinity, challenging common Norwegian conceptions of the sport as a women’s game, and resolving possible gendered tension in Norwegian handball through symbolic power. The article concerns the psychosocial and socio-cultural mechanism of gendered meaning-making through symbolic representations. When televised by Norwegian TV2; men’s handball becomes a masculine and manly sport.