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Introduction

Autonomous Driving and the Transformation of Car Cultures

Jutta Weber and Fabian Kröger

This special section on “Degendering the Driver” explores how gender intervenes in the potential shift from a driver-centered to a driverless car culture. It focuses on representations of imagined futures—prototypes, media images, and popular discourses of driverless cars. Following the tradition of feminist cultural studies of technoscience, we ask in our introduction how these new techno-imaginaries of autonomous driving are gendered and racialized. We aim to explore if the future user of an autonomous car is gendered or degendered in the current media discourse. The four articles explore what kinds of images are used, what promises are made, and how the discourse about autonomous driving is influenced by gendered norms. Some authors emphasize that self-driving vehicles could encourage pluralized forms of masculinity. Nonetheless, all authors conclude that driverless cars alone will not degender the driver but rather encourage a multiplication of gendered and racialized technologies of mobility.

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Of wolves and men

Postwar reconciliation and the gender of inter-national encounters

Stef Jansen

This article confronts the grammar of liberal reconciliation discourses with the gendered practices of post-war encounters. After violence that is considered national, meetings between people of different nationalities, and the reconciliation of which they are seen to be a vanguard, tend to be considered as morally good in and of themselves. This article subjects such liberal reconciliation discourse to a double ethnographic intervention: first, by privileging the practice of non-elite inter-national encounters over abstract notions of reconciliation, and, second, by tracing the particular gendered subject positions of sameness that shaped and were shaped by such encounters. The article explores how, after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, men who met across former frontlines evoked “normal life” through mutual recognition of performative competence of motifs of hegemonizing masculinities.

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Negative Repetition

Masochism in Alan Hollinghurst's "The Folding Star"

Oliver Penny

This article reads Hollinghurst’s The Folding Star through a synthesis of Freud’s theories of transference and the death drive and Jean Laplanche’s theory of infantile masochism. My reading traces the role of masochism in the formation of the gay male subject and in this way contributes towards an understanding of the repressed masochism which is central to psychic life, and more specifically to an understanding of its role within masculinity and gay masculinities. Through this reading I attempt to shed light on the problems of such an identity both for the subject and for a relationality at work within Hollinghurst’s novel which is consistently dependent upon a melancholic preservation of heterosexual masculinity.

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Thatcher’s Sons?

1980s Boyhood in British Cinema, 2005–2010

Andy Pope

The 1980s have been mediated constantly since their end, with British cinema in particular engaging with the decade’s political, social, and cultural landscape through a masculine perspective. Seventeen British films set in the 1980s were produced from 2005 to 2010, with many presenting a personal response to the boyhood of their screenwriters during the Thatcher decade. This article considers the determinants of this phenomenon, the meaning for contemporary men of 1980s cultural nostalgia, and the role of the father in these films. Two films in particular, Son of Rambow and This is England, center boyhood and patriarchal absence within their personal narratives. Although these films indicate that the 1980s are a difficult period for the male characters in these narratives, I argue that for a number of their screenwriters and directors, revisiting their boyhood through these cultural texts indicates a nostalgic reluctance to move on from the 1980s. How this contradiction defines contemporary masculinity in Britain will be a key consideration in this article.

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Hannah Mueller

The representation of adolescent same-sex love in Daniel Ribeiro’s Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (2014) and Aluizio Abranches’s Do Começo ao Fim (2009) stands out from other treatments of adolescence and homosexuality in Brazilian/LatinAmerican cinema. The movies’ setting within an urban upper-class environment allows for a conception of adolescence as a prolonged period of carefree exploration. By intertwining the experience of adolescence with the discovery of emergent sexuality, the movies develop a model of sensual, gentle masculinity and a reciprocal concept of homosexual love, thus undermining the paradigmatic juxtaposition of active masculinity and passive femininity that has dominated cinematic representations of homosexual characters and same sex-encounters in Latin-American cinema.

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Janet McDonald

In elite boys’ schools there is a level of anxiety about the perceived place of the curricular subject drama and how it might interact or interfere with the ironclad essentialist and homogenous masculinity promoted by elite all-boys’ schools. The feminization of the drama and the suspicion of males who “do drama” create a duplicitous tension for boys who take the subject as they walk the gendered tightrope between the expected public display of the “muscular Christian” and the tantalizing “drama faggot.” This paper offers some reflections about observations on and interviews with boys who “do drama” inside the male-only worlds of the Great Public School (GPS) of Brisbane, Australia. In these schools I observed masculinities were constantly disrupted (perhaps uniquely) in the drama classroom and explored by male drama teachers who provided a space in which to playfully interrogate the “muscular Christian ideal” of a boys’ school.

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Books Are Boring! Books Are Fun!

Boys’ Polarized Perspectives on Reading

Laura Scholes

This article draws on interview data gathered from a broader study concerned with examining issues associated with boys, masculinities, and reading at school. The focus is on eight boys in Years 5 and 6 who attend schools in a range of socioeconomic communities in Australia. The boys offer polarized perspectives on reading, with four boys reporting positive attitudes toward reading and describing reading books as “fun” and another four boys describing reading books as “boring.” Examined are inflections in these two groups of boys’ experiences as readers at school, making visible the way boys’ attitudes influence engagement with reading. This research moves beyond broad generalizations about boys to consider complexities inherent in notions of masculinity and how different groups of boys internalize their positioning of reading in ways that influence their attitudes, engagement, and subsequently outcomes in reading.

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Ronald F. Levant, Stephen T. Graef, K. Bryant Smalley, Christine Williams and Neil McMillan

Data were collected on samples of American (N = 172) and Scottish (N = 264) adolescents to evaluate the scale reliability and construct validity of an adolescent version of Levant et al.’s (1992) Male Role Norms Inventory. Results indicate that the MRNI-A showed good overall internal consistency for the scale as a whole in both samples; results for the subscales were less robust. Convergent and discriminant validity were assessed with the U.S. sample. Results indicated adequate convergent validity for the MRNI-A for both boys and girls, and adequate discriminant validity for girls. Results for the discriminant validity of the MRNI-A for boys were not as conclusive. Consistent with research on adults, females in both samples endorsed less traditional views of masculinity than did males. Scottish adolescents endorsed less traditional views of masculinity than did Americans.

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Karl Frerichs, Peter Kuriloff, Celine Kagan, Joseph Nelson, Dwight Vidale and John Thornburg

"Reinventing Leadership Training Using a Participatory Research Model" by Karl Frerichs and Peter Kurlioff

"Reading for Masculinity in the High School English Classroom" by Celine Kagan

"Helping Boys Take Flight: A Peer-Mentoring Program for Boys of color at the Riverdale Country School" by Joseph Nelson and Dwight Vidale

"A Relational Approach to Teaching Boys" by John Thornburg

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'Adventures in Auto-Eroticism'

Economies of Travelling Masculinity in Autobiographical Texts by Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady

Mary Paniccia Carden

Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Neal Cassady's The First Third & Other Writings attempt to establish a masculinity that evades the restrictions of a bourgeois-driven patriarchal culture without abandoning traditional patriarchal prerogatives of male power. Although they reject the manhood enacted in capitalist competition, their texts depend in fundamental ways on marketplace models of identity. Their economies of manhood devalue one aspect of U.S. patriarchy (capitalist success) by investing in another (self-determination). Trading on models of male identity offers returns of increased power, pleasure and fulfilment, but simultaneously puts these outcomes at risk. Cassady's pun on 'auto' the (male) self and 'auto' the car posits both as self-contained vehicles of an independent, powerful eroticism. But both men find the erotics of a masculinized travel imbricated in a dangerously fluid economy of gained and lost signifiers of manhood.