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Economic competition is based in hegemonic masculinity

Elias and Beasley 09

[Elias, Juanita associate professor in international political economy and Beasley, Christine professor of politics at University of Adelaide. “Hegemonic Masculinity and Globalization: “Transnational Business Masculinities” and Beyond”. Globalizations, 6(2). 2009.]

For key critical masculinity scholars it is globalization—specifically a multinational-led neoliberal globalization—that is recognised as ‘the most obviously important’ issue in the future of the field researching masculinity. Specifically, this is understood in terms of ‘the relation of masculinities to those emerging dominant powers in the global capitalist economy, the transnational corporations’ (Connell et al., 2005, p. 9). Connell’s particular contribution to this field is that globalization, in creating what has been termed a ‘world’ or ‘global gender order’, involves the re-articulation of national hegemonic masculinities into the global arena. Specifically he refers here to ‘transnational business masculinity’, which he describes as definitively taking the leading role as the emergent gendered world order, an order associated with the dominant institutions of the world economy and the globalization of the neo-liberal market agenda. The leading role of transnational business masculinity re-articulates older and more locally based bourgeois managerial hegemonic masculinities (Connell, 2005b, pp. 84, 76-7; Connell, 2005a, p. 263; Connell and Wood, 2005). In this account transnational business masculinity is seen to occupy the position of hegemonic masculinity on a world scale—that is to say, a dominant form of masculinity that embodies, organizes, and legitimates men’s domination in the world gender order as a whole (Connell, 2000, p. 46). This notion of hegemonic masculinity is, however, understood as embodying more that just a Gramscian-style mechanism for gaining consent. Rather, the political legitimating meaning of hegemonic masculinity quickly slides towards its meaning as the ‘dominant’ masculinity and how an actual group of men ‘embodies’ this dominant positioning, including how this group exhibits particular personality traits. Connell asserts that ‘world politics is now more and more organized around the needs of transnational capital’, placing ‘strategic power in the hands of particular groups of men—managers and entrepreneurs’—who self-consciously manage their bodies and emotions as well as money, and are increasingly detached from older loyalties to nation, business organisation, family and marital partners (Connell, 2005a, p. xxiii; Connell and Wood, 2005, p. 359). Drawing upon Connell’s work the sociologist Joan Acker endorses this view that hegemonic masculinities are embodied in the specific characteristics of multinational business-men suggesting that we think of ‘Rupert Murdoch, Phil Knight or Bill Gates’. Adding ‘[t]his masculinity is supported and reinforced by the ethos of the free-market, competition and a “win or die” environment. This is the masculine image of those who organize and lead the drive to global control and the opening of markets to international competition’ (Acker 2004, p. 29). These men are, in Connell’s account, dispositionally highly atomistic—competitive and largely distanced from social or personal commitments. They embody a neo-liberal version of an emphasized traditional masculinity, without any requirement to direct bodily strength (Connell, 2005a, pp. xxiii, 255-6; Connell, 2005b, p. 77).

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