Schrock, D. and M. Schwalbe. 2009. “Men, Masculinity, and Manhood Acts.”

Schrock, Douglas and Michael Schwalbe. 2009. “Men, Masculinity, and Manhood Acts.” Annual Review of Sociology 35: 277-95.

1980’s research shifted from male sex role (masculinity as a singular trait) to how men enact a diverse set of masculinities. Gender as contextualized. Strengths and weaknesses of multiple masculinities approach. Focus on manhood acts and how they elicit deference from others. How males learn to perform manhood acts, how manhood acts vary, and how they create gender inequality.
Pre-feminism: Sex roles as behaviorally drawing on sex-specific and sex-appropriate roles, rather than domination and subordination. Carrigan et al*** exposed sex role theory for blindness to power, how masculinity was constructed between men (not only between women and men), and discussed the link between masculinity and heteronormativity — masculinity as “a form of collective male practice that has as its effect the subordination of women” (278) – formed concepts of hegemonic and subordinated masculinities. Growth of new literature in field of masculinities since 1980s – claims that the studies of men and (blank) become limiting to the analysis. Works from an interactions perspective.
S&S’s research goal = look at literature as to describe what men individually and collectively do so that women and Othered men are subordinated – PRACTICES and PROCESSES. How do males construct “man” category and membership within.
Distinguishes between sex and gender (and age) – male versus men, boys versus men. “Men are (usually) biological males claiming rights and privileges attendant to membership in the dominant gender group” (279) through dramaturgical tasks. Schrock (2005)*** labels these manhood acts – “a set of conventional signifying practices through which the identity “man” is established and upheld in interaction” (279) – this is aided by having a male body, which becomes a symbolic asset when asserting conventional associations of maleness and manhood – however, this is a dramatic effect – an interpretation of appearance and behaviors by others (Goffman 1959)***
Per Western, US standards
– The capacity to exert or resist control, consciously or unconsciously (Johnson 2005)*** — this is not to say that every individual intends to oppress others through their independent actions, but that manhood acts have the effect of reproducing gender inequality
– Multiple masculinities – hegemonic (Connell 1987, 1995, 2000)*** and those enacted by males with fewer resournces…. however, this, itself is essentialist, say S&S, and ignores commonality within masculinities, and in-group variations between raced, sexualized, religized, or classed masculinities
– “All manhood acts, as we define them, are aimed at claiming privilege, eliciting deference, and resisting exploitation” (281) – “reject and devalue… symbols of female identity” (Cahill 1989, 290)***
– Sex categorizations, sex-segregated socialization, sex-segregated play articulate differences (and claimed superiority of boys) (Thorne 1993)***, can lead to differential skill (kx – and value?) development
– Regulating activities, emotions, parents’ accountability for sons’ behavior to other adults, sexual desire for girls, sexual knowledge, and heterosexual activity, using women as props, promoting homophobia, aggression, violence, morality struggles through warrior narratives – compensatory acts include resistance to authority (through schools), intimidation, physical strength and endurance, loyalty, toughness, rationality, management of subordinates, fearlessness, binge-drinking, high-risk behavior (Messerschmidt 1993)***…. all to help create conforming and oppositional presentations of self
Carrigan T, Connell B, Lee J. 1985. Toward a new sociology of masculinity. Theory Soc. 14:551–604
Schrock D, Reid L, Boyd EM. 2005. Transsexuals’ embodiment of womanhood. Gend. Soc. 19:317–35
Goffman E. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday
Connell RW. 1987. Gender and Power: Society, the Person, and Sexual Politics. Sydney: Allen & Unwin
Connell RW. 1995. Masculinities. Sydney: Allen & Unwin
Connell RW. 2000. The Men and the Boys. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin
Cahill SE. 1989. Fashioning males and females: appearance management and the social reproduction of gender.
Symb. Interact. 12:281–98
Johnson AG. 2005. The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press
Messerschmidt JW. 1993. Masculinities and Crime: Critique and Reconceptualization of Theory. Lanham, MD:
Rowman & Littlefield
Thorne B. 1993. Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press


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