Power and Resistance

This chapter discusses the theoretical propositions of masculinity in relation to gendered power through the eyes of two main approaches: a structuralist and a poststructuralist one. The author provides an insightful critique of the structuralist understandings of male domination such as patriarchy, hegemonic masculinity, the ideology of masculinism and gender order. These concepts fail to recognize the fluidity of (gendered) power relations, argues Whitehead, by reducing them to a dichotomy of oppressor and oppressed thus restraining the possibility for resistance of the gendered subject. Instead, a poststructuralist explanation of gender relations is offered which looks at power as “circulatory, exercised rather than held, immanent to both the social condition and the production of individual subjectivity”. The author introduces the Foucauldian discursive subject, who is neither a passive victim of power as structure, nor a free individual but rather a “conditioned” being within a discourse of gender which allows him/her to exercise their agency while at the same time limiting the tools this agency may operate with. Finally, Whitehead brings in the concept of the “masculine subject”, “both subjected to masculinity and endorsed as an individual by masculinity” with which he aims at making a theoretical contribution to what he calls a third-wave in the sociology of men and masculinities.

Released: Replika 69, 109–133.
Replika block:
Anikó Lukács