Gender Hierarchies

Soft Masculinities, Isicathamiya and Radio


Gunner, Liz. 2014. “Soft Masculinities, Isicathamiya and Radio.” Journal of Southern African Studies 40 (2): 343-60.

Author: Liz Gunner


The paper argues that, beyond the violent masculinities that mark much of the South African social order, there exist several alternative strands that require study, because they show the range of debate on manhood and shifts in centres of gender equity. The role of song and performance in expressing and debating different kinds of masculinity is crucial. This paper explores the genre Isicathamiya as a site of ‘soft’ masculinity. The study sets the genre in its historic and contemporary context. It also explores the links of Isicathamiya/cothoza with radio and with the programme Cothoza Mfana, which began on Radio Bantu in 1962, continued on Radio Zulu, and is part of its successor on the SABC, Ukhozi FM. The paper also explores the figure of the migrant in relation to leisure and freedom from the restraints of ritual and chiefly authority, and argues that such ‘freedom,’ often a feature of migrants' lives in many parts of Africa, is frequently linked to new forms of creativity and new visions and makings of modernity.

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equity, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2014

Why Examine Men, Masculinities and Religion in Northern Ireland?


Brady, Sean. 2013. “Why Examine Men, Masculinities and Religion in Northern Ireland?” In Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Twentieth-Century Britain, edited by Lucy Delap and Sue Morgan, 218-252. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Sean Brady


Northern Ireland and especially the Troubles of 1968–98 have received considerable scholarly attention in recent decades. But in much of the scholarship, the centrality of religion and religious differences are elided. Also, questions of gender and masculinities barely exist in the historiography of Northern Ireland. Historians that claim to focus on ‘gender’ in reality focus on women and women's studies alone. Questions of masculinity and religion have the potential to offer fresh and incisive analyses of male pecking orders, male-only and male-dominated organisations along religious sectarian lines, and the fostering of competing sectarian hegemonies within the Northern Ireland state from its creation in 1921. The article maps out potentials for masculinities and religion as crucial sites of analysis in the troubled history of the province. (Palgrave Connect)

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Religion Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2013

‘Settled in Mobility’: Engendering Post-Wall Migration in Europe


Morokvasic, Mirjana. 2004. “‘Settled in Mobility’: Engendering Post-Wall Migration in Europe.” Feminist Review 77 (1): 7–25.

Author: Mirjana Morokvasic


`The end of the bi-polar world and the collapse of communist regimes triggered an unprecedented mobility of people and heralded a new phase in European migrations. Eastern Europeans were not only 'free to leave' to the West but more exactly 'free to leave and to come back'. In this text I will focus on gendered transnational, cross-border practices and capabilities of Central and Eastern Europeans on the move, who use their spatial mobility to adapt to the new context of post-communist transition. We are dealing here with practices that are very different from those which the literature on 'immigrant transnationalism' is mostly about. Rather than relying on transnational networking for improving their condition in the country of their settlement, they tend to 'settle within mobility,' staying mobile 'as long as they can' in order to improve or maintain the quality of life at home. Their experience of migration thus becomes their lifestyle, their leaving home and going away, paradoxically, a strategy of staying at home, and, thus, an alternative to what migration is usually considered to be - emigration / immigration. Access to and management of mobility is gendered and dependent on institutional context. Mobility as a strategy can be empowering, a resource, a tool for social innovation and agency and an important dimension of social capital - if under the migrants' own control. However, mobility may reflect increased dependencies, proliferation of precarious jobs and, as in the case of trafficking in women, lack of mobility and freedom.



“Mobility and the capacity to be mobile play an important part in the strategies of these migrants. Rather than trying to immigrate and settle in the target country, migrants tend to 'settle within mobility,' staying mobile 'as long as they can' in order to improve or maintain the quality of life at home.” (11)

“Thus, although the cross-border trading trips engage both men and women, their functioning relies on unquestioned gender relationships and hierarchies which assign to women and men different expectations and positions, to the point that every younger good-looking woman on the 'Polish market' or in the train is considered as a potential prostitute.” (15)

“Besides enabling women a transnational, double presence, combining life 'here' and 'there', the rotation system yields other opportunities for agency. First, women avoid being captured in an institutionalized form of dependency vis-d vis a single employer, which is the case with live-in maids, for instance… Third, in the sector where upward mobility is impossible, and where most of the East European women are de-classed and de-skilled, the experience in a rotation system can be a stepping stone to setting up a business, that is, one's own rotation group, using established local connections and building up a new network.” (17)

“Trafficked women are coerced into a totally dependent status vis-a-vis the trafficker or their employer who usually confiscates their passports and their return tickets. This makes independent mobility impossible and leaves them at the mercy of a rotation scheme across European borders, being transferred from one city to another at intervals within the limits of their three-month tourist visas. The three- month limit means that women are unable to establish long-term connections with the outside world.” (18)

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Trafficking, Human Trafficking Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe

Year: 2004

Migration As Protest? Negotiating Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Urban Bolivia


Bastia, Tanja. 2011. “Migration As Protest? Negotiating Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Urban Bolivia.” Environment and Planning A 43 (7): 1514-1529.

Author: Tanja Bastia


Feminist geographies of migration are often based on the assumption that migration brings about social change, potentially disrupting patriarchal structures and bringing about new spaces where gender relations can be renegotiated and reconfigured. On the basis of multisited research conducted with migrants from the same community of origin in Bolivia, I analyse how gender, class, and ethnicity are renegotiated through internal and cross-border migration. A transnational, multiscalar, multisited, and intersectional approach is applied to the study of social change through migration, with the aim of investigating whether labour migration provides avenues for greater gender equality. At the individual level there are certainly indications that women achieve greater independence through migration. However, the multiscalar and intersectional analysis suggests that women trade ‘gender gains’ for upward social mobility in the class hierarchy. By doing so, they also contribute to the reproduction of patriarchal social relations.

Keywords: feminist, internal migration, labor migration, social mobility

Topics: Class, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Bolivia

Year: 2011

Military Privatization and the Remasculinization of the State: Making the Link Between the Outsourcing of Military Security and Gendered State Transformations


Stachowitsch, Saskia. 2013. “Military Privatization and the Remasculinization of the State: Making the Link Between the Outsourcing of Military Security and Gendered State Transformations.” International Relations 27 (1): 74-94.

Author: Saskia Stachowitsch


This article examines the gendered implications of military privatization and argues that the outsourcing of military functions to the private sector excludes women from newly developing private military labour markets, impedes gender equality policies and reconstructs masculinist gender ideologies. This process constitutes a remasculinization of the state, in the course of which the nexus between state-sanctioned violence and masculinity is being reaffirmed. Recent research has introduced the concept of masculinity to the study of the private security sector. Building upon these approaches, the article integrates feminist theories of the state into the research field and evaluates their potential contributions to the analysis of military privatization. In an exemplary case study of the US military sector, this privatization is embedded within debates on the neo-liberal restructuring of the state and addressed as a gendered process through which the boundaries between the public and the private are being redrawn. The implications of these transformations are investigated at the levels of gender-specific labour division, gender policy and gender ideologies.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Masculinism, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security

Year: 2013

Ulstermen and Loyalist Ladies on Parade: Gendering Unionism in Northern Ireland


Racioppi, Linda, and Katherine O'Sullivan See. 2000. "Ulstermen and Loyalist Ladies on Parade: Gendering Unionism in Northern Ireland." International Feminist Journal of Politics 2 (1): 1-29.

Authors: Linda Racioppi, Katherine O'Sullivan See


This article explores parades as central institutions in the construction and maintenance of unionist ethno-gender identities and a crucial part of politics in Northern Ireland. It presents a brief historical review of the origins of Protestant marches and the organizations which are key to sustaining this tradition. It then analyses the contemporary marches, including the highly contested Portadown parade and the tranquil ll-Ireland demonstration, held in Rossnowlagh in the Republic. These overwhelmingly male events are important to the maintenance of the gender order of unionism. The parades reveal the subordinated femininity within unionism: women participate in small numbers by invitation only. At the same time, they reveal competing masculinities: traditional, 'respectable' unionist masculinity is challenged by the more virile loyalism of 'Billy boy' and 'kick the pope' bands and marchers. This analysis explains why these competing masculinities are central, not only to the maintenance of male hegemony, but also to the ethno-national politics of parading, helping to set the boundaries of accommodation with nationalists and the state.

Keywords: ethnic conflict, Gender, nationalism, Northern Ireland, parades, women

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Governance, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland

Year: 2000

Male Rape and the Careful Construction of the Male Victim


Graham, Ruth. 2006. “Male Rape and the Careful Construction of the Male Victim.” Social & Legal Studies 15 (2): 187–208.

Author: Ruth Graham


Sexual assault generates much attention in social research, but male victims are largely neglected by a predominantly feminist perspective that seeks to highlight the gendered nature of sexual assault as a social phenomenon. As a result there is a relative lack of empirical information on male rape, but it is possible to chart the theoretical development of male rape as a social problem as it emerges in the social research discourse. It is important to examine this development because the current direction ofthe research on male rape has worrying consequences for how we theorize sexual assault in general. Here [Graham] examine[s] how male rape is understood in academic discourse, and [Graham] focus[es] specifically on how a credible male victim is constructed with reference to sexual difference, sexuality, and hierarchies of sexual harm. The analysis demonstrates the problems around the concept of ‘male rape’, and the need for all those researching sexual assault to account adequately for both male and female victims alike.

Topics: Gender, Men, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Men

Year: 2006

The Gendered Violence of Development: Imaginative Geographies of Exclusion in the Imposition of Neo-liberal Capitalism


Coleman, Lara. 2007. "The Gendered Violence of Development: Imaginative Geographies of Exclusion in the Imposition of Neo-liberal Capitalism." British Journal of Politics & International Relations 9 (2): 204-19. 

Author: Lara Coleman


In this article I consider how gendered hierarchies are constitutive of neo-liberal development and the violence attendant upon it. Building on Arturo Escobar’s observation that violence is constitutive of development, I explore how the violent imposition of neo-liberal development is legitimised through the inscription of gendered imaginative geographies, which define ‘savage’ spaces of exclusion in need of ‘civilising’ development interventions. Drawing on the example of contemporary Colombia, I trace how the development discourse produces space in this way by normalising certain identities and political rationalities—those associated with competition and rational economic behaviour—while representing others as errant, as hyper-masculine subjects prone to violence or ‘pre-rational’ feminised subjects.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Globalization, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2007

Sexing the Economy in a Neo-Liberal World Order: Neo-Liberal Discourse and the (Re)Production of Heteronormative Heterosexuality


Griffin, Penny. 2007. “Sexing the Economy in a Neo-Liberal World Order: Neo-Liberal Discourse and the (Re)Production of Heteronormative Heterosexuality.” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9 (2): 220-38.

Author: Penny Griffin


Sex and gender are not merely incidental to the formation and perpetuation of neo-liberal discourse, they are absolutely central to it. I explore how neo-liberal discourse is predicated on a politics of heteronormativity that (re)produces the dominance of normative heterosexuality. The World Bank is an excellent example of this, reproducing a heteronormative discourse of economic viability through policy interventions that are intrinsically sexualized, that is, predicated on a politics of normative heterosexuality. Bank discourse, although articulated as value-neutral, 'straightens' development by creating and sustaining policies and practices that are tacitly, but not explicitly, formulated according to gendered hierarchies of meaning, representation and identity. Thus, one effect of contemporary neo-liberalism's inherent heteronormativity is to associate successful human behavior almost exclusively with a gender identity embodied in dominant forms of heterosexual masculinity.

Topics: Development, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, LGBTQ, Sexuality

Year: 2007

Militant Hindu Nationalist Women Reimagine Themselves: Notes on Mechanisms of Expansion/Adjustment


Bacchetta, Paola. 1999. “Militant Hindu Nationalist Women Reimagine Themselves: Notes on Mechanisms of Expansion/Adjustment.” Journal of Women’s History 10 (4): 125-47.

Author: Paola Bacchetta


This article explores modes in which women militants from India's most extensive Hindu nationalist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have used Hindu nationalist discourse to produce themselves as political agents. The author compares personal narratives of three Hindu nationalist women militants from three different generations to the official discourse of the RSS and its affiliated women's organization, Rashtra Sevika Samiti. Notwithstanding the diversity of the women's life trajectories, identities, perspectives, and modes of political engagement, there are also some commonalities. All three women selectively modify official Rashtra Sevika Samiti discourse to justify their personal, intellectual, emotional, physical, and spatial expansion as new political agents. Simultaneously, they reproduce official RSS anti-feminist and anti-Muslim stances, thereby ensuring their own confinement within the Hindu nationalist order which ultimately men dominate. Thus, the women end up adjusting to their (newly conceptualized and expanded, albeit still subordinate) place within that order.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Nationalism, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 1999


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