Toward a New Sociology of Masculinity

This article aims to offer not only an analysis of developments in masculinity studies since its early beginnings, but also an alternative to the theoretical frameworks used in examining gender issues in social sciences. The authors identify as origins of gender related research the “problem of women” literature from the second half of the 19th century, emerging in the same period social sciences materialize as separate disciplines. The historical analysis continues with a parallel between early studies on women as “minority”/”marginal” groups and the interference of functionalism on the development of a more radical understanding of gender relations. The ’50s bring with them Talcott Parsons’ famous sex role theory that makes a career in gender studies especially when related to women and the family. The authors present a lengthy critique of the “sex role” framework in masculinity studies pointing out its oversimplified notion of sociality and its easily accepted “male role” standard that eventually ends up in an internally incoherent static. As an alternative to this approach the authors propose a new sociology of masculinity that includes three main issues: sexual power, class dynamics and the historical production of social categories. In addition to these, the concept of “cathexis” borrowed from psychoanalysis is proposed as a liaison for a more coherent theory of masculinity.

Released: Replika 69, 43–88.
Replika block:
Réka Sáfrány