Hegemonic Masculinity

Miklós Hadas

This issue consists of a selection of texts on the concept of hegemonic masculinities proposed first by Bob (Raewyn) Connell, Tim Carrigan, and John Lee in the mid-1980s. Following an introduction to the writings, it presents the original piece as well as two critical analyses made by Demetrakis Z. Demetriou and Stephen Whitehead, and ends with a 2005 article of Connell and J.W. Messerschmidt rethinking the concept based on various critiques it received. While Connell and his (her) colleagues provide a critical overview of the conceptual apparatus of the Parsonsian “sex role theory”—used widespread in 1960s, but also in some 1970s studies of males and men—and describe the connections between male movements and the development of more progressive social theories on masculinities, both Demetriou and Whitehead contest the proposed alternative theoretical framework from a poststructuralist viewpoint. Demetriou suggests to tackle the historically changing patterns of masculinities by proposing the Bhabhaian notion of hybridization and—grounded on a Gramscian approach—, the concept of “hegemonic bloc”, which can overcome the dualism of hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculinities used by Connell. This offers a more complex description of how patriarchal society is able to reproduce itself by incorporating masculinities formerly conceived as non-hegemonic into later prevailing images of hegemonic masculinities. Whitehead, following a Foucauldian methodology, challenges Connell’s and her colleagues’ conception of power as it is narrowed down to a repressive form of it. Also, he finds their concept of social structure too deterministic and reductionist, and states their use of the masculine subject is essentialist. The final text attempts to rethink part of these as well as other critical points of the formerly defined concept of hegemonic masculinities, and provides a more refined analysis of the subject.

Released: Replika 69, 25–163.