Jeff Hearn & Michael S Kimmel. Handbook of Gender and Women’s Studies. Editor: Kathy Davis, Mary Evans, Judith Lorber. 2006. Sage Publication.
Gender research and women’s studies has made the dynamics of gender explicit and has also made masculinity visible as gendered ideology, named men as gendered, and problematized the position of men. Recent years have seen a considerable expansion of explicitly gendered research and scholarship on men and masculinities. Where men’s outlooks and culturally defined characteristics were formerly the unexamined norm for religion, science, citizenship, law, and authority, the new scholarship recognizes the specificity of different masculinities and increasingly investigates their genealogies, structures, and dynamics. The chapter begins by discussing the framing and naming of studies on men and masculinities in relation to feminism and critical gender scholarship. Thereafter, men and masculinities are analysed as socially constructed, with the interweaving of men’s gender status and other social statuses. Epistemological and methodological issues are explored, along with implications of studies for political and policy issues. The chapter concludes with a commentary on the future of the field.
Introduction: Framing Studies on Men and Masculinities
The impulse to develop the field of gender research and women’s studies has come primarily from feminists. Those making gender visible in contemporary scholarship and in public forums have mainly been women, and the field has been very much inspired by addressing research questions about women and gender relations. At the same time, revealing the dynamics of gender also makes masculinity visible as a central concept of gendered ideology, names men as gendered, and problematizes the position of men.
Studies of men and masculinities stand in a complex relation to women’s studies and feminism. The question of ‘men’ has long been on feminist agendas and part of women’s studies and gender research in the United States. Jalna Hanmer (1990) lists fifty-six feminist publications ‘providing the ideas, the changed consciousness of women’s lives and their relationship to men—all available by 1975’ (pp. 39-41). In the 1980s there were a number of feminist theoretical consolidations regarding men (hooks, 1984; O’Brien, 1981), and feminist and mixed-gender conference debates on men (Friedman and Sarah, 1982; Hearn and Morgan, 1990; Jardine and Smith, 1987). More recent feminist initiatives have suggested a wide variety of analyses of men and ways forward for men (Adams and Savran, 2002; Gardiner, 2002; Schacht and Ewing, 1998).
Feminism has demonstrated many theoretical and practical lessons for men, though men seem to keep ignoring or forgetting most of them. One is that the understanding of gender relations has to involve attention to questions of power. Another is that to transform gender relations, and specifically men’s continued dominance of much of social life, means changes not only in what women do and are but also in what men do and are.
Thus, where men’s outlooks and culturally defined characteristics were formerly the unexamined norm for religion, science, citizenship, law, and authority, the new scholarship recognizes the specificity of different masculinities and, increasingly, investigates their genealogies, structures, and dynamics. This process has now been active for more than twenty-five years in the United States and has produced a large and interesting body of research that focuses on men and masculinities.
This research interest has been developed by feminist scholars and a relatively small number of men scholars and from a variety of perspectives and relations to feminism—from anti-feminist to ambiguous and ambivalent to pro-feminist. However, the object of study—men and masculinities—needs to be distinguished from the producers of studies on men and masculinities—women, men, or women and men together. This distinction sometimes appears to be an area of confusion, especially for non-pro-feminist men, who may assume, erroneously, that they have or should have privileged status over women when it comes to studying men.
Naming Studies on Men and Masculinities
It is perhaps not so surprising with the relative flurry of activity on men and masculinities that there might be disputes over the framing and naming of the subject area. There is some debate about what to call this field of knowledge. Some scholars have used the terms masculinity studies or male dominance studies or critical studies on men to describe the field. Others have called this area of enquiry mens studies.
However, men’s studies is not an accurate corollary to women’s studies, since women’s studies made both women and gender visible. Nor is it a corrective to the perceived defects of women’s studies made by anti-feminist scholars, who seem to say, ‘Well, you have your women’s studies, but what about us men?’ In short, the phrase men’s studies often suggests a defensive reaction to women’s studies rather than a building on its original insights about gender.
Women’s studies offered a corrective to the androcentric bases and biases of the traditional scholarly canon, and its signal success has been to create a new discipline, along with libraries and book series devoted to women’s lives. Today, in fact, any book that does not have the word ‘women’ in it is a book in ‘men’s studies’—but we call it ‘literature,’ ‘history,’ or ‘political science.’
We have named this chapter Changing Studies on Men and Masculinities to distinguish between studies of men as corporeal beings and masculinities—the ideologies and attitudes that are associated with those corporeal beings. We use the term masculinities to make it clear that there is no one singular masculinity, but that masculinity is elaborated and experienced by different groups of men in different ways. Such a framing more accurately reflects the nature of contemporary work, which is inspired by, but not simply parallel to, feminist research on women.
Men and Masculinities as Socially Constructed
All human cultures have ways of accounting for the positions of women and men and different ways of picturing the patterns of practice we call masculinities. The combination of empirical description and secular explanation that constitute social science took shape during the later nineteenth century, at the high tide of European imperialism. The colonial frontier was a major source of data for European and North American social scientists writing on sexuality, the family, and women and men. There was, thus, a situational, socially constructed, and global dimension of gender in Western social science from its earliest stage (Connell, 2002).
However, an evolutionary framework of progress (with Western White men as the apex) was largely discarded in the early twentieth century. The first steps towards the modern analysis of masculinity are found in the psychologies pioneered by Freud and Adler. Psychoanalysis demonstrated that adult character was not predetermined by the body but was constructed through emotional attachments to others in a turbulent process of growth (Connell, 1994). In the next generation, anthropologists such as Malinowski and Mead emphasized cultural differences in these processes and the importance of social structures and norms. By the mid-twentieth century, these ideas had crystallized into the concept of sex roles.
Masculinity was then understood in psychology, social psychology, sociology, and anthropology as an internalized role or identity, reflecting a particular (in practice often meaning US or Western) culture’s norms or values, acquired by social learning from agents of socialization such as family, school, and the mass media. Under the influence of women’s liberation, gay liberation, and even men’s liberation, the male role was subject to sharp criticism (Pleck and Sawyer, 1974). In the United States, the idea of men’s studies as an academic field emerged out of debates sparked by this critique (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1979).
In the social sciences, the concept of a male sex role has been critiqued as ethnocentric, lacking in a power perspective, and positivistic (Brittan, 1989; Eichler, 1980; Kimmel, 1987). In its place, broader social construction perspectives highlighting issues of social power have emerged (Carrigan, Connell, and Lee, 1985; Kaufman, 1987), along with critiques of the dominance of heterosexuality, heterosexism, and homophobia (Frank, 1987; Herek, 1986). Two major sets of power relations have thus been addressed: the power of men over women (heterosocial power relations), and the power of some men over other men (homosocial power relations). These twin themes inform contemporary enquiries into the construction of masculinities.
The concept of masculinities in the plural has been extremely important over the last twenty years in widening the analysis of men and masculinities within the gender order (Brod, 1987; Brod and Kaufman, 1994; Carrigan et al., 1985; Connell, 1995). It has supplanted the concept of the male sex role and is generally preferred to other terms, for example manhood or manliness. Conceptual work emphasized social structure as the context for the formation of particular masculinities (Connell, 1987; Hearn, 1987; Holter, 1997), with some recent authors emphasizing that masculinities are constructed within specific discourses (Petersen, 1998). Detailed life-history and ethnographic research provide close descriptions of multiple and internally complex masculinities (Mac an Ghaill, 1994; Messner, 1992; Segal, 1997; Wetherell and Edley, 1999). There is also a growing debate and critique around the concepts of masculinities and hegemonic masculinity from a variety of methodological positions, including the historical (MacInnes, 1998), materialist (Donaldson, 1993; Hearn, 1996; 2004; McMahon, 1993), and poststructuralist (Whitehead, 2002).
The construction of men and masculinities can be explored with many different scopes of analysis and sets of interrelations, including the social organization of masculinities in their global and regional iterations; institutional reproduction and articulation of masculinities; the organization and practices of masculinities within a context of gender relations, that is how interactions with women, children, and other men express, challenge, and reproduce gender inequalities; and individual men’s performance, understanding, and expression of their gendered identities.
Many scholars have explored the institutional contexts in which such masculinities are articulated and constructed. Masculinities do not exist in social and cultural vacuums but rather are constructed within specific institutional settings. Gender, in this sense, is as much a structure of relationships within institutions as it is a property of individual identity. For example, locating the construction of masculinities within families, workplaces, schools, factories, and the media are promising areas for research.
Methodologies for Studying Men and Masculinities
A wide range of research methods have been used to study men and masculinities, including social surveys; statistical analyses; ethnographies; interviews; and qualitative, discursive, and deconstructive approaches, as well as various mixed methods. An explicitly gendered focus on men and masculinities can lead to the rethinking of particular research methods. Michael Schwalbe and Michelle Wolkomir (2002) have set out some key issues to be borne in mind when interviewing men; Bob Pease (2000) has applied memory work in researching men; and David Jackson (1990) has developed men’s critical life-history work.
Historical research has also traced the emergence of new and situational masculinities and the institutions in which they arise. These have included both dominant (Davidoff and Hall, 1990; Hall, 1992; Hearn, 1992; Kimmel, 1997; Tosh, 1999; Tosh and Roper, 1991) and resistant (Kimmel and Mosmiller, 1992; Strauss, 1982) forms of masculinities at home, in work, and in political and cultural activities. Important historical work has been done from gay history (Mort, 2000; Weeks, 1990) and from colonies of settlement such as New Zealand and Natal on schools and military forces (Morrell, 2001b; Phillips, 1987).
Social scientific perspectives in studies on men and masculinities necessarily draw on a number of traditions. While not wishing to play down debates and differences between traditions, the broad, critical approach to men and masculinities that has developed in recent years can be characterized in a number of ways, by:
- A specific, rather than an implicit or incidental, focus on the topic of men and masculinities;
- Taking account of feminist, gay, and other critical gender scholarship;
- Recognizing men and masculinities as explicitly gendered rather than non-gendered;
- Understanding men and masculinities as socially constructed, produced, and reproduced rather than as somehow just ‘naturally’ one way or another;
- Seeing men and masculinities as variable and changing across time (history) and space (culture), within societies, and through life courses and biographies;
- Emphasizing men’s relations, albeit differentially, to gendered power;
- Spanning both the material and the discursive in analysis;
- Interrogating the intersecting of gender with other social divisions in the construction of men and masculinities. It is to this last point that we now turn.
Interweaving Men’s Gender Status with other Social Statuses
Men are not simply or only men. Although men and masculinities are our explicit focus and are understood as explicitly gendered, men and masculinities are not formed by gender alone. Men and masculinities are shaped by differences of, for example, age, class, disability, ethnicity, racialization. Men’s gender status intersects with racial, ethnic, class, occupational, national, global, and other socially constructed and defined statuses. The gendering of men exists in the intersections with these other social divisions and social differences.
The intersection of social divisions has been a very important area of theorizing in critical race studies, Black studies, postcolonial studies, and kindred fields (Awkward, 2002; hooks, 1984; Morrell and Swart, 2005; Ouzgane and Coleman, 1998). Paradoxically, it might be argued that as studies of men and masculinities deconstruct the gendering of men and masculinities, other social divisions come to the fore and are seen as more important. Part of the long-term trajectory of gendered studies of men could thus be the deconstruction of gender (Lorber, 1994; 2000).
Very promising research is being carried out on differences and intersectionalities among men by racial group, class, sexuality, age, and the like, and the intersections of these axes of identity and social organization. For example, discussion of the relations of gender and class can demonstrate the ways in which different classes exhibit different forms of masculinities and the ways in which these both challenge and reproduce gender relations among men and between women and men. A key issue here is how men relate to other men, and how some men dominate other men. Men and masculinities are placed in both cooperative and conflictual relations with each other—in organizational, occupational, and class relations—and also in terms defined more explicitly in relation to gender, such as family, kinship, sexuality, and gender politics.
Some intersectional research on masculinities has used ethnographic methods to explore the constructions of masculinities. For example, Matt Gutmann (1996) has investigated the construction of masculinity among poor men in Mexico City, and Loïc Wacquant (2004) has conducted participant observation among poor Black young men training to become Golden Gloves boxers in Chicago. Such ethnographic works take the analysis inside gender construction and examine how meanings are made and articulated among men themselves.
The intersectional perspective links with research on the impacts of globalization or glocalization on local gender patterns: men’s employment, definitions of masculinity, and men’s sexuality (Altman, 2001). Analysis of masculinities and men’s place in the gender order has become a worldwide undertaking, with emphasis on local differences. Although most empirical research is still produced within the developed countries, global perspectives are increasingly significant (Cleaver, 2002; Pease and Pringle, 2002). In his recent work, R. W. Connell (1998; 2005) has explored the ways in which certain dominant versions of masculinities are rearticulated in the global arena as part of the economic and cultural globalization project by which dominant states engulf weaker states.
In studying men, certain epistemological considerations recur. We may ask:
- What form of and assumptions about epistemology are used, more or less consciously?
- Who is doing the studying, with what prior knowledge, and with what positionality?
- What is being studied—in this case, what is counted as ‘men’ or to do with ‘men’?
- What is the relation between those studying men and the men studied?
- In what specific social contexts, especially academic, do the above activities take place? (Hearn, 2003)
This last point is especially important. The gendering of epistemology, along with the gendered analysis of academic organizations, has tremendous implications for rethinking the position and historical dominance of men in academia and how their dominance structures what counts as knowledge (Connell, 1997; Hearn, 2001). A gendered focus on men can be applied to academia, suggesting rereadings of non-gendered traditions and ‘classics’ within mainstream social science, in terms of their implicit and explicit conceptualizations of gender, women, and men (Morgan, 1992).
There are various approaches to epistemology, both generally and in studying men. According to rationalist epistemology, ideas exist independently of experience, in some way derived from the structure of the human mind or existing independently of the mind. We might ‘know,’ for example, the ‘essence’ of ‘deep masculinity,’ as in the work of Robert Bly and the mythopoetics. It is very difficult to prove or disprove such knowledge: we know what men are like, even if evidence appears otherwise.
In contrast, empiricists deny that concepts exist prior to experience. For them, knowledge is a product of human learning, based on human perception. Thus, men are studied by sense perceptions, whether through one’s own or more systematically, through the perceptions of others, as indicative of how men are. This epistemology remains at the base of much mainstream social science on men. Focusing on perception, however, brings its own complications—misunderstandings and illusions—that show that perception does not always reveal the world as it ‘really is.’
There are problems with both the rationalist and the empiricist epistemologies, and certainly so in their extreme forms. Kant, and subsequently many other critical thinkers, sought to develop some form of synthesis between them: people certainly do have knowledge that is prior to experience, for example the principle of causality. Kant held that there are a priori synthetic concepts, but empirical knowledge is also important. Many others have expanded this critical insight and developed forms of knowledge that mix elements of rationalism, empiricism, and critical reflection, whether through an emphasis on meaning and interpretation, as in hermeneutics, or through a more societally or socially grounded analysis of knowledge, as in the Hegelian-Marxist tradition and feminist and various other, indeed multiple, standpoint theories (Harding, 1991).
Standpoint traditions—the view that knowledge is shaped by social position—inform much of the development of feminist and pro-feminist critical studies on men. In this view, the positioning of the author in relation to the topic of men, as a personal, epistemological, and indeed geopolitical relation, shapes the object of research and the topic of men and masculinities in a variety of ways. Such positionings include, for example, treating the topic non-problematically (through taking for granted its absence or presence), through sympathetic alliance with those men studied or the contrary subversion of men, or with ambivalence, in terms of alterity (i.e. the recognition of various forms of otherness between and among men), or through a critical relation to men (Hearn, 1998). These differentiations are partly a matter of individual political choices and decisions in positioning, but increasingly the importance of the more structural, geopolitical positioning is being recognized. Postcolonial theory has shown that it matters whether analysis is being conducted from within the West, the global South, the former Soviet territories, the Middle East, or elsewhere. Thus, history, geography, and global politics matter in epistemologies and ontologies in studying men.
What may appear obvious and open to straightforward empirical data gathering is not so simple. One might argue that different knowledge is available to men than women, or to feminists, pro-feminists, or anti-feminists. Such differences arise from socially defined experiences and standpoints. A useful contrast can be drawn between more individually defined standpoint theory, which prioritizes knowledge from the individual’s identity politics, and more socially contextualized standpoint theory, which sees knowledge as a collective production linked to historical political positions and circumstances that are not necessarily rooted in individual identity politics.
We find the collective variant of standpoint theory more compelling than the individual viewpoint. A collective understanding of standpoint theory can usefully inform research designs in highlighting gendered power relations in the subjects and objects of research and in the research process itself. It can also assist the production of more explicitly gendered and grounded knowledge about men, masculinities, and gender relations. Emphasizing the researcher’s social position is not to suggest a deterministic account of the impact of the researcher on the research process; rather, the social position of the researcher is relevant but not all-encompassing. Positionality is especially important in researching certain topics and sites, but the relevance and impact of the social position of the knower is likely to vary considerably with different kinds of research situations, sites, materials, and questions. The topic of men is not unified, ranging from broad theoretical analyses to specific social situations, which might be individual or men-only or mixed-gender.
Studying men cannot be left only to men. Men’s knowledge of themselves is at best limited and partial, at worst violently patriarchal. The idea that only men can study men (or that only women can study women) links social position to bodies. This idea can be seen as essentialist biologism, but it also recognizes the importance of bodies (and, for that matter, emotions) to the production of knowledge. Exploration of the embodied nature of knowledge, in relation to both researcher and researched, is an important epistemological concern that is often an unexamined subtext in the research process.
Political and Policy Issues
The growth of research on men and masculinities reflects a diverse public and policy interest, ranging from boys’ difficulties in school to men’s violence. Research is paralleled by the development of admittedly extremely uneven policy debates at local, national, regional, and global levels. The motivations for such policy initiatives can also come from varied political positions, ranging from men’s rights to pro-feminism to the emphasis on differences between men, whether by social class, age, sexuality, ethnicity, and racialization (Messner, 1997).
In the rich countries, including Japan, Germany, and the United States, and in some less wealthy countries, including Mexico and Brazil, the late 1980s and 1990s saw rising media interest and public debate about boys and men. Mainly focused on social problems such as unemployment, educational failure, and domestic violence, but also discussing men’s changing identities, these debates have different local emphases. In Australia, the strongest focus has been on problems of boys’ education (Lingard and Douglas, 1999). In the United States, more attention has been given to interpersonal relationships and ethnic differences (Kimmel and Messner, 2003). In Japan, there has been a challenge to the ‘salaryman’ model of middle-class masculinity (Taga, 2005). In the Nordic region, there has been more focus on gender equity policies and men’s responses to women’s changing position (Lundberg, 2001). In Latin America, especially Mexico, debates have addressed the broad cultural definition of masculinity in a long-standing discussion of ‘machismo,’ its roots in colonialism, and effects on economic development (Adolph, 1971; Gutmann and Viveros Vigoya, 2005).
In most of the developing world, these debates have not emerged, or have emerged only intermittently. In the context of mass poverty, the problems of economic and social development have had priority. However, questions about men and masculinities emerged in development studies in the 1990s, as feminist concerns about women in development led to discussions of gender and development and the specific economic and political interests of men (White, 2000).
Such debates also have different emphases in different regions. In Latin America, particular concerns arose about the effects of economic restructuring. Men’s sexual behaviour and role in reproduction are addressed in the context of population control policies and sexual health issues, including HIV/AIDS prevention (Valdés and Olavarría, 1998; Viveros Vigoya, 1997). In Southern Africa, regional history has given debates on men and masculinities a distinctive focus on race relations and on violence, both domestic and communal (Morrell, 2001a). In the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia, cultural analysis of masculinity has particularly concerned modernization and Islam, the legacy of colonialism, and the region’s relationship with contemporary Western economic and military power (Ghoussoub and Sinclair-Webb, 2000).
Locally and regionally, there are various attempts to highlight problems both created by and experienced by men and boys and to initiate interventions, such as boys’ work, youth work, anti-violence programmes, men’s health programmes. There is growing interest in the interventions against men’s violence at both global (Ferguson et al., 2004) and local (Edwards and Hearn, 2005) levels. Stratification issues, both of gender and other divisions, are clearly relevant at both national and global levels.
Several national governments, most prominently in the Nordic region but also elsewhere, have promoted men’s and boys’ greater involvement in gender equality agendas. Regional initiatives include those in the European Union and the Council of Europe. The multinational study by the collaborative European Union’s ‘The Social Problem of Men’ research project (Critical Research on Men in Europe, CROME) is an attempt to generate a comparative framework for understanding masculinities in the new Europe. The goal is to remain sensitive to cultural differences among the many countries of that continent and to the ways in which nations of the EU are, to some extent, developing convergent definitions of gender. Here we see both the similarities across different nations and variations among them as well, as different countries articulate different masculinities (Hearn et al., 2004; Hearn and Pringle, 2006; Pringle et al., 2005).
By the late 1990s, the question of men and masculinity was also emerging in international forums, such as diplomacy and international relations (Zalewski and Parpart, 1998), the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (Breines, Connell, and Eide, 2000), and international business (Hooper, 2000). The UN and its agencies have also been at the forefront in the field of men’s health and HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention.
An interesting convergence of women’s and men’s issues has taken place at the UN. Following the world conferences on women that began in 1975, there has been an increasing global debate on the implications of gender issues for men. The Platform for Action adopted at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women said:
The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women’s issue…The Platform for Action emphasises that women share common concerns that can be addressed only by working together and in partnership with men towards the common goal of gender equality around the world.
Since 1995, these issues are increasingly being taken up in the UN and its various agencies and in other transgovernmental organizations’ policy discussions. For example, the UN’s Division for the Advancement of Women in 2003 organized a worldwide online discussion forum and expert group meeting in Brasilia on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality as part of its preparation for the 48th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, with the following comment:
Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the role of men in promoting gender equality, in particular as the achievement of gender equality is now clearly seen as a societal responsibility that concerns and should fully engage men as well as women. (Division for the Advancement of Women, United Nations (2003a: 1).
The Future of the Field
While it is not possible to predict the future of a field of research with any precision, it may be possible to identify emerging problems and approaches that are likely to be fruitful. There is, first, the task of developing the picture on a world scale. The social scientific record is very uneven; research on men and masculinities is still mainly a First World enterprise. There is far more research in the United States than in any other country. There are major regions of the world where research even partly relevant to these questions is scarce—including China, the Indian subcontinent, and Central and West Africa. To respond to this lack is not a matter of sending out First World researchers with existing paradigms. That has happened all too often in the past, reproducing, in the realm of knowledge, the very relations of dominance and subordination that are part of the problem. Forms of cooperative research that use international resources to generate new knowledge of local relevance need to be developed.
Next, there are several issues that seem to be growing in significance. The most obviously important is the relation of masculinities to those emerging dominant powers in the global political economy. Organization research has already developed methods for studying men and masculinities in corporations and other organizations (Cockburn, 1983; 1991; Collinson and Hearn, 1996; 2005; Kanter, 1977; Ogasawara, 1998). It is not difficult to see how this approach could be applied to transnational operations, including international capitalist corporations and military organizations, although it will call for creative cooperation.
There are also new or relatively underdeveloped perspectives that may give greater insight even into well-researched issues. The possibilities of poststructuralist theory are now well discussed, although there are doubtless new applications to be found. These could include combining the insights of poststructuralism with more materially grounded analyses of men and masculinities, whether as controllers of power and resources, or as excluded and marginalized. More broadly, there is still much to be done in developing interdisciplinary scholarship; for example, bringing together research on men from the social sciences and the humanities.
At the same time, the possibilities in postcolonial theory are still little explored (Morrell and Swart, 2005; Ouzgane and Coleman, 1998), and they are very relevant to the transformation of a research field historically centred in the First World. Analysis of both political and economic transformations, militarism, and neo-imperialism are seriously underdeveloped (Higate,2003; Novikova and Kambourov, 2003), as is political and economic analysis more generally. Most discussions of men and gender acknowledge the importance of power and the world of work but do not carry them forward into analyses of a gendered economy. Economic inequality is crucial to understanding the link between masculinity and violence, and the same may be argued for other masculinity issues (Godenzi, 2000).
There are other long-standing significant problems that have remained under-researched. A notable example is the personal development of masculinities in the course of growing up. How children are socialized into gender was a major theme of sex role discussions, and when the male role literature went into a decline, this problem seems to have stagnated. All the debate about boys’ education has produced little new developmental theorizing. However, a variety of approaches to development and social learning exist (ethnographic, psychoanalytic, cognitive) along with excellent models of fieldwork (Thorne, 1993).
An interdisciplinary research agenda on these issues would certainly move our understanding of men and masculinities a long way forward. Nevertheless, understanding is mainly worth having if we can do something with it to create a more gender-just world. Therefore, the uses of knowledge and the relationship between research and practice must be key issues for the development of this field.