The Spectacle of Men Fighting


Greig, Alan. 2000. “The Spectacle of Men Fighting.” IDS Bulletin 31 (2): 28-32.

Author: Alan Greig


The meaning of male violence should be a central concern of Gender and Development (GAD) discourse and practice. Explanations of the nature, and limits, of men's responsibility for such violence increasingly centre on their socialisation into a masculine identity. By counter-posing the ‘individual’ and the ‘social’, attention becomes fixed on identity as the surface that connects these two realities on which is inscribed the masculinity of men. The task of responding to the spectacle of men fighting then appears to be one of re-inscribing a new non-violent masculine identity. This paper argues that GAD practitioners should be wary of this kind of politics of identity. Focusing on identification as relation, rather than identity as boundary, clarifies the violent politics of difference at the heart of masculinity. Addressing violence means approaching a new politics of difference. This is a politics of alliance and coalition, a transgressing of sectoral and institutional boundaries in recognition of the common bases of oppression and their plural manifestations in women's and men's lives. GAD can address the politics of identification(s) by approaching questions of responsibility for and complicity in male violence as personal-communal issues. Depending on what they choose to fight for, the spectacle of men fighting can be a sight, and site, of real political potency.

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Violence

Year: 2000

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