The Big Picture: Masculinities in Recent World History

TitleThe Big Picture: Masculinities in Recent World History
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsConnell, R. W.
JournalTheory and Society
Date Published10/1993

This article addresses the question of how we should study men in gender relations, and what view of modern world history an understanding of masculinity might give us. The author starts with the reasons why "masculinity" has recently become a cultural and intellectual problem, and suggest a framework in which the intellectual work be better done. The historicity of "masculinity" is best shown by cross-cultural evidence on the differing gender practices of men in different social orders. The core of the paper is a sketch of the historical evolution of the forms of masculinity now globally dominant. This shows their imbrication with the military, social, and economic history of North Atlantic capitalist states, and especially with imperialism. This history provides the necessary basis for an understanding of the major institutionalized forms of masculinity in contemporary "first world" countries, and the struggles for hegemony among them. The author concludes with a brief look at the dynamics of marginalized and subordinated masculinities.

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