This book explores the challenges posed to "masculine identity" during a period of growing scepticism about the idea of fixed identities.
Postmodernism and poststructuralism have produced new ways of thinking about the indicidual and the social. They have undermined the assumptions on which stable identities have been constructed, such as the assumption that there exists stable bodies and stable selves. "Sex," "gender," "sexuality," and "race" are no longer viewed as merely descriptive aspects of experience, but also as constructions of "identity."
Scholars researching and writing in the academic area of menÆs studies and of member of the pro-feminist menÆs movement have failed to engage with recent theory and to criticall reflect on the epistemology of masculinity. Increasingly, the field of menÆs studies is looking like a separatist enterprise and many strands of the menÆs movement are clearly reactionary. Scholars and activists have neglected recent developments in postmodern feminism, feminist philosophy of science, antiracist/postcolonial studies, and queer theory, which pose important questions for thinking about men, masculinity, sexuality, and identity.
Masculinity has tended to be treated in isolation from power relations and historical and global contexts. This book attempts to rethink masculinities. It considers the way in which discourse fabricates the "ideal" male body, sexual identity, and sexual identity politics. The book explores the possibilities of new models of identity not so closely linked to the sex/gender system and for a new or reconceptualized identity politics.
Fresh, lucid, and invigorating, this book provides a stimulating guide to the debates around men and masculinities as well as opening up new questions for researchers and teachers to consider. It will be required reading for students in sociology, cultural studies, and sexualities.