What is it about?

The study explores how young people understand gender, work and care and the possibilities for generating heterogeneous, caring masculinities. Undertaken with children in three northern English primary schools we used a series of critical masculinities workshops through which participants are asked to reflect upon what it means to be a man and materialize these ideas through artwork, crafting forms of masculinity. Our school-based discussions with young people reveal how participants place an acute emphasis on the felt, affective and emotional register of caring masculinities. Our findings suggest masculine care practices have the potential to challenge and redistribute power across the gender order. However, we further found that hegemonic forms of masculinity could become consolidated and recuperated through caring acts, meaning gender power relations are not easily disrupted simply by men becoming caring.

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Why is it important?

Feminist research on care identifies care work as a low-paid, menial and ultimately feminized activity. Much of the work in the field, unsurprisingly, has focused upon the plight of women and how the division of labour produces and sustains gender inequalities. However, there is a growing interest in masculinities and care but very little by way of empirical research. Moreover, care accounts from children and young people are at best sparse. In considering masculinities and care through young people the study makes a critical intervention on debates on gender inequality, masculinity, care and emotions.


The study is relevant if you are interested in: gender inequalities; masculinities and social change; arts-based methods; geographies of care and care work; children and young people's ideas of what it means to be a man

Anoop Nayak
Newcastle University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Crafting masculinities: embodying, recuperating and redistributing care in young lives, Social & Cultural Geography, April 2021, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2021.1910993.
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