<B>The IASOM Newsletter Vol 4 No 1 May 1997</B>


Things are moving fast in gender research and in the studies of men field, and since we have not been able to secure financing and other requirements for a more regular newsletter, we are not able to cover more than a portion of the events.

Since our last issue, June 1996, I have received more than seventy centimeters of correspondence (letters, brochures, announcements, papers, etc.), not counting the e-mail.

As an indication of the expanding debate, e-mail discussion lists are flourishing, and one of them, the mostly US-centered profem-l list, now runs at a rate of more than five hundred letters a month. These initiatives are further described below.

Readers have responded enthusiastically to the idea of a global network in the field, and we can only ask for their patience that several goals set in the 1993 organizational guidelines have not yet been realized. What we have today is an emerging network, while a full association requires more time.

The Newsletter has been “Nordistic” in the sense of bringing news and views from the Nordic countries. This means, also, that I have given space for specific viewpoints that differ somewhat from the typical US or European continental views on gender research and equality, believing that this would introduces more nuance and depth in some areas and work positively for the international debate. Yet this is obviously a policy that can be carried too far, and often simply a pragmatic editorial position since I’ve receive much information from this region than others. IASOM support often seems to be related to two factors in the region - the ability to find financing and time for international development in the field (or even time for doing any kind of critical studies of men), and the importance put on international cooperation.

What is now very evident and encouraging, is the broad development in researchers’ priorities. With more than 70 members and a variety of connected groups and networks in more than 20 countries, we can safely say that researchers and other concerned professionals have marked their intention regarding a new form of research on men. So the next step is to secure academic and other support, and here, most members find themselves entangled in some difficulties, most of it typical for a new field, some of it in specific here.

I appreciate readers’ active correspondence and contributions to the newsletter, the only way to widen the international scope. Over the last year, IASOM has been significantly strengthened by new network developments in Spain and Germany, by developing EU gender research networks debate, and by new members from a number of countries.

Hopefully, e-mail and the new web page can be used to improve quality and democracy. For now, you can download the preliminary IASOM platform and organizational principles from our new web page. Also, take a look at the FAQ at the end of this issue and tell us when you think the answer is misplaced or calls for debate.


Editing closed: May 4, 1997

Luis Bonino

News from Spain

During May 97, two meeting dealing with men´s studies will be arranged:

The 6º meeting of the Net on masculine models (Red de reflexión sobre los Modelos Masculinos): April 30-May 1

This net is formed by a group of male psychologists and sociologists who live and work in different cities of Spain. Some of them are psychotherapists and others are researchers in the men´s studies field. It was created in 1993 and the first meeting was in Madrid. Since then, we´ve been gathering together at the last weekend during may and November of each year. The aim is to exchange experiences, information and to develop strategies to encourage a change on men from a nonsexist perspective. The net goals are expressed  in  what we´ve called “Our basic document”:

The net is a space for men to gather together, to think and to exchange information dealing with masculinity amongst researchers, therapists, teachers, who all agree on gender equality and also on the willingness to encourage the debate on this equality.

The net works to give importance to communication and cooperation amongst members against traditional masculinity patterns.

Exchange and information about experiences and personal development techniques applied to men also take place in the net

The Net encourages and carries out actions to fight for the equality of men and  women also supporting feminism and the gay movement

This a pluralist group which works within a common solidarity and commitment against any kind of discrimination.

The participants: Angel Lozoya (Sevilla); Fernando Villadangos (Granada); Peter Szil (Alicante); Josep  Vicent Marques (Madrid); Jose Antonio Soria (Valladolid); Carlos Nieto (Seu dÜrgel); Xavier Odriozola (Bilbao); Joan Vilches (Valencia); Luis Bonino (Madrid); Guillermo Gonzalez (Valladolid).

1ª Hispanic-Latinoamerican Meeting on Gender and Masculinity: May 16-17-18

There is place for 30 people who will get together in the city of Toledo, Spain (this city is a historical example of tolerance in the medieval age since Christians, Jews and Arabs live pacifically together. Point in common: Spanish-speaking participants.

The aims of this meeting are:

- To encourage studies and research dealing with masculinity in Spain and Latinamerica

- To bring up new field of social intervention analyzed from masculinity perspectives as well

- To give a new frame about the implications of the masculinity perspective in sexual and gender education and in sexual and couple therapy

-To unify criteria and efforts amongst professionals who work with gender topics

-To create a new point of debate, exchange and formation of a new type of knowledge which generate a new masculinity dialectics within Spanish-speaking countries.

From Luis Bonino (boncov@interplanet.es):

Mailing lists


The profem-l e-mail list is US-based, and contains useful things, but is also overwhelming unless you filter your e-mail. Some bad tone and much blame-throwing on profeminists for all wrongs. You connect to the list by mailing this message:

subscribe profem-l to profem-l@coombs.anu.edu.au.

Finnish profem-list

A new Finnish pro-feminist men’s e-mail list has been created. Write to majordomo@kaapeli.fi with content 'subscribe man' (subject-field left empty). The web address is http://www.kaapeli.fi/hypermail/man.


US: NOMAS (National Organization of Men Against Sexism) conference

The 22nd National Conference on Men and Masculinity, with special focus:

Spirituality, Community and Social Change

will be held on July 17-20 1997 in the lovely lake- and wood scenery of Saint John's College, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Special workshops July 17 (Thursday) on ending men's violence, homophobia education, and the men's study association.

For workshop inf.: Prof. Ozzie Mayers, Dept of English, Coll of St Benedict

St Joseph, MN 56374, USA.

The conference coordinator is Prof.. Charles Thornbury, +1 320 363 2893, fax + ...2504, e-mail cthornbury@csbsju.edu.

Arrangement proposals and inf.: M&M22, Office of student development, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN 56321-2000

Denmark: Men's Workplace Cultures

May 15, Parken, Copenhagen

The contributors include Ivan Thaulow (Socialforskningsinstituttet) and other researchers, as well as business leaders and consultants.

Information: Berit Lyngsø, PLS Consult, tel. +3397-8200.

European conference on masculinity and violence, Strasbourg June 97.

The European Council is sponsor under the CDEG - Head of section equality between women and men, secretary: Oløf Olavsdottir, Iceland, (fax +33 3 884112793. Norwegian contact: fax +47 22 73 88 94 Trine Eklund.

Women and Men in Dialogue - Valmiera, Lettland August 6-10 1997

Nordic Feminist Student Conference - Stockholm 1998 - contact: Ulrika Bjørk, Center for Women's Research, Stockholm

European Citizenship, Gender and the Welfare State. London June 5-7 1997. Information: Marina Calloni, London School of Economics, Gender institute. E-mail calloni@lse.ac.uk

Peace and War Issues: Gender, Race, Identity and Citizenship. Austin, Texas September 26-28. Info: Andrea O'Reilly, Centre for Feminist Research, York University, Ontario, Canada. E-mail cfr@yorku.ca

International Political Science Association, 17th. World Congress: Panel on Equity and Equality. Seoul 17-21 August. E-mail ipsa97@bubble.yonsei.ac.kr

The GIER network (see Networking, below) has informed us of plans to create a European conference on equality

and masculinity in 1998.

Courses: Sexuality and gender

Nordic-Baltic postgraduate course on "SEXUAL ISSUES - theoretical and practical problems for research on sexuality", in Valmiera, Latvia 1-6 August 1997.

Applications for participation need to arrive at NIKK by May 5th. Out of 20 participants, 10 will be selected from Nordic countries, and 10 from the Baltic countries/NW Russia. Participation in the course is funded by NorFA.

Questions of sexuality have important political significance on the

landscape of gender equality, gendered economic power, cultural images of gender hierarchies and sexual health and rights. The hidden sexual contracts underlying survival and citizenship are of central concern in our times of shifting traditions of gender roles, greatly increased international mobility, international circulation of images of sexuality and gender, continuing juxtapositions of wealth and poverty, and unresolved issues of sexual safety. Sexual health has been highlighted in recent years by HIV/AIDS and new forms of sexual commercialisation.

The aim of this course is to enable critical dialogue about ways of understanding gender in connection to sexual issuesamong Nordic countries, Baltic countries and Northwest Russia.

Further information and details of application procedures from:

Jill Lewis at NIKK, Nordic Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Research, University of Oslo, P.O.Box 1156 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22 85 89 31; Fax: +47 22 85 89 50; E-mail: jill.lewis@sfk.uio.no


Ed. Boyd, Stephen; Longwood, W. Merle; Muesse, Mark W.

Redeeming Men. Religion and Masculinities

Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky 1996

This one reached us just before deadline. It seems a notable book on religion and masculinities - a thoughtful, well-researched volume. Important social topics like the dynamics of masculine fundamentalism is discussed, with lots of references.

The editors sum it up:

“Twenty years ago, a book like this would have been unthinkable. (..) Studies on the relationship between gender and religion were focused on women - and rightly so. (..) The suggestion that one should investigate the matter of men and religion might have been met with the response, 'Why? Hasn't all religious reflection been about men?'”

Library services

International/US library and information service:

The Changing Men's Collection now has a web address:


Base administrator Ed Barton invites all researchers to pass information on relevant material and to use the facilities of the base. Especially, non-English material will be given more space, he writes. You can use the web page as a link to the Z Web for access to MSU libraries and materials can be requested through Inter Library Loan.


Jeff Hearn: The implications of Critical Studies on Men. NIKK, Oslo

Simon Duncan: Theorizing European Gender Systems. J of European Social Policy 5,4,263-84

Karin Sandqvist: Verbal boys and Mathematical Girls. Scandinavian J of Educational Research 39,1,5-36

Non-English languages

Dr. Lopez, like other authors and researchers writing in Spanish, have problems getting their papers translated to English. Until now, the editor has turned all non-English material down, simply because we have no financing for such work and those of us working with the journal . We are considering a change of policy. Please note, however, that the paper must have a summary (at least one paragraph) in English which should give accurate information about what actually appears in the paper.

If possible, the IASOM web base and future newsletters will contain non-English sections.

Journals and newsletters

Achilles Heel is a veteran among pro-feminist men's magazines. Recent special issues include men and rage (19, 1996) and men and work (20, 1996). Contact The AHC, 4 West Park, Whitchchurch Road, Horrabridge, Devon PL20 7PY, UK. This is an informative and engaging magazine (if only partly research-oriented) and we encourage IASOM members to subscribe (tel. +1273 734079).

Lost IASOM addresses

Mick Cooper, UK

Irene Kingston, Brussels

Ish Neilheimer, Ottawa

Christof Armbruster, Bielefeld

Christian Ahlberg, Åbo

Paul Sandwyk, Amsterdam

Josef Gerhard Schranz, Vienna

Swedish government emphasizes men’s studies

In a new government proposition on research in Sweden, it says:

“The government will here also emphasize the importance of men’s studies. There is however a great need for method and theory development in this area”. Also, the proposition establishes as permanent gender studies secretariat in Gothenburg with ca. one million dollar pr. year. (oM Män 2/96).

The Swedish Network for Studies of Men newsletter (oM Män) is edited by Tommy Ringart - e-mail tringart@algonet.se, fax + 8 644 03 06.

Supporting women's studies

In February, the IASOM editor was informed by e-mail from Jeff Hearn that the authorities at Concordia University, Montreal were attempting to close the women’s research center there. Accordingly, I sent them a general letter of protest, as follows.

“Oslo, Norway 17.02.97

In support of the Women’s Studies center

Women's studies are important not only for women, but for men also. Instead of decreasing its priority, it should be increased. The Women’s Studies center in Oslo recently established itself as a permanent part of the University of Oslo. This is the international trend: women's studies and gender studies are becoming more important for overall societal development, not less important.

The International Association for Studies of Men supports the center against attempts to close it down. As regards improving dialogue with the disciplines and making the research increasingly relevant and/or high quality, such matters are best solved by being discussed in a friendly dialogue of development, not under threats of withdrawal of support.

The International Association for Studies of Men is an independent global researcher’s organization aiming towards improvement of research on men and gender equality. Most well-known men's researchers around the world (US: Michael Kimmel; UK: Jeff Hearn; Sweden: Lars Jalmert; Australia: Robert Connell, etc.) are members of or affiliated with IASOM.


Øystein Gullvåg Holter

(Sociologist, researcher at The Work Research Institute, Oslo; Member of the Norwegian Gender Equality Council; Editor of the IASOM newsletter.)”

A week later, we received a long answer from provost Jack Lightstone at Concordia, which started saying our reaction had been “understandable”, and expressed worry about “the great concern” their plans had created in the community. Lightstone goes on to describe the administrative process in details that cannot quite be deciphered from Norway, yet it seems that the letter signals an openness for dialogue and also at least some change of plans. Protests help, and IASOM sometimes has more effect than an individual name. Please notify the Newsletter in similar cases.

Norway: center for Women’s Research in Oslo becomes permanent

After twenty years, an important research idea has finally been fully accepted. The permanent establishment also marks the success for the “two legs strategy” of women’s research in Norway - integration but also specific organization (centers, etc.).

The Center’s new position in the University system is fully deserved and well earned, center researchers having given vital inputs to many fields and areas over the last 15 years.-

New IASOM members

Sara Willott (s.a.willott@birmingham.ac.uk), University of Birmingham. has written on men in Mairtin Mac an Ghaill, ed.: Understanding Masculinities, Open University Press, and now a book called Wham Bam, am I a man? (with C. Griffins; in press). (See letter below).

Prof. Walter Hollstein and Prof.. Paul Zulehner in Germany, noted for their work on men and masculinity, write (22.11.96) that they are “very interested in getting the newsletter regularly and to collaborate”. (Some further ideas and an international project sketch are included in this issue).

Hollstein and Zuhlener are associated with Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Männerforschung (IAM), an international network which seems to have its main basis in central Europe.In another letter Hollstein writes that the IAM network is currently engaged in an empirical project about men in Germany, Hungary and Chechia.

“I would be grateful if you would add my name (..) I am a research student and part-time lecturer in the Department of French at University College London, and conduct research into the constructions of masculinity and the discourses on AIDS,” James N. Agar writes (e-mail: j.agar@ucl.ac.uk).

Per Folkesson (per.folkesson@hks.se), Swedish psychotherapist and author on family research, has joined IASOM. Research topics: male violence and identity formation.

Sara Breinlinger, UK. See research note below.

Malcolm Tyler, community health social worker, Tasmania, wants IASOM to focus on “network building, theory and method debate, publication opportunities. More information about men's work and developments in Europe.”

An example from the correspondence:

“Hello Øystein, my name is Marie Nordberg and I am an ethnology doctoral student in Gothenburg (Sweden).

My thesis concerns men in female-dominated occupational environments. (..) My letter concerns IASOM which I would like to join. And if possible I'd like the newsletter from summer 96 where Jeff Hearn's thoughts could be found. (Marie Nordberg henrik.nyaker@xpress.se)”

You are warmly welcome. Generally we are not able to distribute back issues in paper, yet some of these are available in electronic form from our web page, starting with the one you ask for (vol. 3 no 1)..

- - -

Other new members:

Tommy Ringart, editor of the Swedish Network newsletter, Science Journalists (tel. + 46 8 640 24 74, fax  ..644 03 06).

Graham Holroyd, Lytham St. Annes, England.

Fernando V. Lopez, clinical psychologist and sexologist, new IASOM member, writes (Nov. 96) : “In my country there is a small group working with masculinities. I think the next year we will found an association in Bilbao.”

Wayne Martino (martino@central.murdoch.edu.au), masculinities researcher, educator and author at Murdoch University (Education), Australia.

Malcolm J. George (m.j.george@qmw.ac.uk) at the Department of Physiology, QMW, London is a “university lecturer with a range of publications”; his main research topics concern neuroscience and men.

Marianne Brantsæter (marianne.brantseter@sosiologi.uio.no), stipendiate at the sociology institute, Oslo (ISO/UiO), active in the Norwegian Network for studies of men, thesis work on male abusers.

Roland Powell, Mental Health Resource Centre, Liverpool (tel. + 0151 928 2239) is a social psychologist who has written on depression in families, men's bias, and other subjects. Powell has crossed off most of the suggested IASOM tasks as “important”.

- - -

Since the last (summer 96) issue, two new networks and a 15 new individuals have joined IASOM.

A warm welcome to all.

- The editor.


From Merle Longwood

Siena College

515 LOUDON ROAD,LOUDONVILLE NY 12211-1462, Department of Religious Studies, (518) 783-2452

FAX (518) 783-4293

Westminster College, Madingley Road

Cambridge CB3 OAA, United Kingdom

Tel: 01223 355834, Fax: 01223 300765

E-mail: ML219Qhermes.cam.ac.uk

27 August 1996

Dear Oystein:

I sent you an E-mail message last month, but I am not sure if it reached you. In that message I expressed interest in becoming associated with the International Association for the Study of Men (IASOM), whose address (yours) I secured from both David Morgan and Jeff Hearn when I visited them at the University of Manchester. I am particularly interested in receiving your newsletter, the most recent issue of which I saw in Jeff Hearn's office. In fact, an article you wrote for that issue bears directly upon my current research.

I am a professor of religious studies at Siena College, a liberal arts college in the Franciscan tradition, in Loudonville [Albany], New York, currently on sabbatical at the University of Cambridge. I have been involved in men's groups and anti-sexist activities and in research and writing on men for almost fifteen years. In recent years, I helped to found a unit in the American Academy of Religion focusing on men's studies, and I currently CoChair of the Men's Studies in Religion Group in that North American umbrella organization for the academic study of religion. I hold membership in both the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, including its academic sub-unit, the Men's Studies Association, and I am a member of the free standing American Men's Studies Association. I served for two years as Book Review Editor for The Journal of Men's Studies, and I currently am an Associate Editor for that journal. With two professional colleagues I solicited and have now submitted for publication a collection of original essays in a volume titled Redeeming Men: Religion and Male Identity, that is being published this fall by Westminster/John Knox Press.

Having given you this introduction to myself, let me tell you that I am currently at work on a sabbatical project that is titled “Masculinity and Sexual Abuse: A Theological and Ethical Study,” and I am conducting it in an interdisciplinary fashion.

My business address back in the States is on this letterhead. My direct office telephone number is: (518) 783-2419; my home telephone number is (518) 346-5590. My fax number is (5188 783-2452 and my E-mail address is Longwood@Siena.edu.

I hope we have an opportunity to meet soon.


Mefle Longwood, Ph.D. Professor of Religious Studies

Sara Willott: A bit about my work and research themes

A dominant representation of the 'successful man' sees him as providing for the family, spending a sizable portion of time outside the home and having freedom of movement between the public and domestic arenas. For men who represent themselves in this way, paid employment is likely to provide an essential prop to their masculinity. Most forms of employment get the man out of the house and provide sufficient income both to contribute substantially to family upkeep and to spend money in the public sphere. However, there are a number of ways in which these cultural yardsticks can be challenged. If a man is long-term unemployed and in receipt of state benefit, this will almost certainly affect both where and how his time is spent and probably also his ability to provide economically for himself and his family.

In 1993-95, I carried out a research project in which I tape recorded and analyzed a series of group discussions with four groups of working-class men experiencing long-term unemployment in a region of the West Midlands, UK. The men talked about a conflict between domestic provision and public consumption, between being the breadwinner for the family and buying rounds at the pub. As a result of this tension, the men also talked about feelings of disempowerment and emasculation. The 'missus' was usually constructed as pressuring their man to provide for the family's 'needs'. Failure to do so risked marital breakdown and the woman leaving for greener economic pastures in the shape of a man with money. However, although masculine identity had become problematic for these men, this did not necessarily lead them to alternatives that were less oppressive to women. Rather than re-construct their masculine identities along pro-feminist lines, the men in my study typically supported the representation of themselves as 'normal men', with activity which allowed them to be out there, earning. Fiddling was talked about as a form of work and although it fails to fulfill all the criteria that legal employment does, it appeared to serve many of the same important purposes for these men. Illicit casual work is often badly paid, boring and unreliable and is sometimes dangerous. However, for these men it was a way, and often the only way, of earning sufficient money to meet what they saw as their family's basic needs, as well as getting themselves out of the house occasionally. If 'casual' work was not available, then economic crime was represented by most as a reasonable alternative for economic survival.

Extending this line of research, I am currently involved in a larger research project in which Chris Griffin and I are exploring the implications of unemployment and economic crime for masculine identities. We are doing this by constructing life stories with twenty men from various class, age and ethnic backgrounds, as well as a series of ten group discussions with men serving probation orders and custodial sentences.

Willott, S.A. & Griffin, C.E. (1996) 'Men, masculinity and the challenge of Unemployment' in Understanding Mascglinities Mairtin Mac an Ghaill (ed.)

Willott, S.A. & Griffin, C.E. (in press) 'Wham Bam, am I a Man?: Unemployed Men Talk about Masculinities' Feminism & Psychology

Willott, S.A. (forthcoming) 'The Outsider Within: doing feminist research with men' in Standpoints & Differences: Essays in the Practice of Feminist Psychology K.Henwood,

A.Phoenix & C.Griffin (eds.)


For a copy the paper/ book chapters which detail the research outlined above, please feel free to contact Sara Willott, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK. S.a.willott@,birmingham.ac.uk

Gender research networks

AIOFE - Feminist education and research

In June 1995, European feminist researchers held a congress in Coimbra, Portugal, planning further networking.

They are now launching a new network - The Association of Institutions of Feminist Education and Research in Europe (AIOFE). An initial conference was held at University of Limerick, Ireland. The network is affiliated with the SOCRATES system and has the support of the EU Commission.

Although mainly focused on women's studies, we hope AIOFE will also help develop discussion, resources and quality in or towards studies of men, and IASOM looks forward to cooperation in this area.  

AIOFE contact address: center for Studies of Gender and Education, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

GIER - Gender inequality and the Enetwork conference:

Comparing Difference - Culture, Sexuality and Male Violence

Dublin 3-6 July 1997

Arranger: Network on Gender Inequality in the European Regions (GIER). Conference proposals and inf.: dr. Birgit Pfau-Eiffinger (bpfau@kua.uni.bremen.de).

“We especially welcome papers examining differences in the processes of gendered inequality in the comparative context of welfare state regimes”, she writes. If your proposal is good enough for the workshop, they will pay your travel expenses.

From the GIER network debate

“Despite the Network's commitment to the importance of sub-national, regional, and local processes and patterns”, Dr. Simon Duncan (s.s.duncan@bradford.ac.uk), another central network organizer, writes that “this level of gender relations was relatively underdeveloped on the [19-21 Sept. 96 ”States”] conference.”

“Many (most?) of the papers (..) took the nation states or using a single state as the focus, and I can't remember these procedures being challenged at all.” (Rosemary Crompton, Univ.of Leicester, e-mail rc23@le.ac.uk).

This “States” workshop also presented a paper by Erna Maria Appelt, Inst. of Political Science, Univ. of Innsbruck, showing, among other things, that Britain now resembles Norway in the early 1980s - most women in paid work, but many in part-time work. She calls it a “divided society” (in terms of class, true, but in terms of gender?). France she describes as a “familialist society” with “mixed female citizenship”.

Other noteworthy papers were presented by Rosemary Crompton, on gender welfare regimes theory from theorists like Esping-Anderson. Crompton argues that recognition of care work is a crucial issue in evaluating state etc. politics, and I think most Scandinavian researchers would agree.  

A paper by Per Jensen (Univ. of Aalborg) seems somewhat disappointing: he could find no uniform patterns or at least “no linear development path” regarding how women have been pulled, pushed and integrated into paid work.


Germany: Dissens

Willibald Walter, Berlin informs us of a new post (Kolonnenstr. 36 SF, 10829 Berlin) and e-mail (willibal@zedat.fu-berlin.de) address. This is also the address for the German Task Group for Critical Men's Studies (Arbeitskreis Kritische Männerforschung), which publishes a newsletter (in German).

Dissens is an independent research and consultation institute founded in 1989, specializing in tasks related to men and gender equality. In a 1996 brochure to business leaders, Dissens presents a consultation program to improve the organizational communication with women in focus and increase the equality between people from the East and the West.

You can contact Dissens through Christian Raschke, tel. + 033477 / 5201

Walter Hollstein: “Make room, mister! (Machen sie platz, mein herr)”

“The question of men is emerging as a central political and social problem in our days. Men must give up power and win emotional competence, whereby the power relationship between women and men can be positively changed. The question of women is also a question of men”

Hollstein has lectured for many audiences in Germany, and written several books, among them “Not dominant but empowered - the future of men” (in German, c. 1988).

Norway: Success for new father leave reform

After the new reform where fathers can extend the family's total leave in relation to birth (with 20 days) which was effective from April 1 1993, the number of fathers participating has “exploded”, according to The Gender Equality Council's magazine (Likt og ULIKT Nov. 96). In 1995, 25000 men used this possibility, including some who lost, in terms of income, on the new rules. These are rules where the father is seen as a “derived parent” and paid through the woman's wage rights. There is a broad agreement that this payment system will have to be revised, based on the success of the reform itself, but as yet little debate has appeared on extending the father's time. The magazine addresses this silence.

The new parental leave system is not a problem for business, Otto Geheb, vice president of the Norwegian Employers' Federation argues. “Initially, the new father leave system looked complicated from the point of view of business. Yet the reform creates less problems than we feared. And this is positive. I say this also as father to two daughters with small children.”

In fact, Geheb argues, the period could probably be extended without creating too many problems for firms. Finding short-term replacement is often more difficult than finding a somewhat longer-term replacement.

The magazine includes interviews with trade union leaders speaking of how fathers have traditionally neglected their families, and the change in attitudes today.

New studies: Masculinity in business

The project “Gender Differences in Career Patterns in Norway”, conducted by Marit Hoel, Arne Mastekaasa and others at the Institute for Social Research (ISF), created major debate when the results were presented on a conference in Oslo in February. The project shows the continued existence of nonegalitarian structures in Norwegian worklife.

“I did not really know my father”

One of four children of divorced couples has not at all seen their father during the last month, according to a new Norwegian study (Ann-Magritt Jenssen/SSB; Dagbladet 16.9.96). A mid-group has seen him two weekends, while only a few (11 percent) has more contact. The study also shows a higher income level among the single male fathers, who typically has a youth in his home and a good economy. This may reflect a system where only exceptional fathers receive earlier custody rights. Mainly, the study documents the extent of divorce-related father absence. Moreover, the system seems to become more slanted, not less. While 16 percent of single parents were men in 1974, today they are only 11 percent.

Single mothers more violent?

Among single parents, mothers more frequently report using violence against a child than fathers do, according to a new Danish study by Mogens Nygaard Christoffersen (N=1200, 600 single mothers and 600 single fathers).

Christoffersen connects the mothers' problems to the fact that single fathers are more particular than single mothers, as well as a lower income and living standard among the mothers (VG 3 Oct 96).

Mothers also report more stress symptoms and more conflicts with the children. As many as 30 percent of the mothers and 20 percent of the fathers were unemployed.

Custody views

If you had children and then became divorced, do you think that the children should live mostly with you, fairly equally with both of you, or mostly with your ex-spouse?

Most popular alternative:

Fairly equally (79 percent of men, 38 percent of women).

Second alternative: with the mother (slim support from men, two thirds of women).

Source: Equity (Likeverd) 1994, Norwegian representative survey.

The Norwegian Network for Studies of Men arranged a seminar 1th of Feb 1997 on child custody with introductions by Ann Magritt Jenssen (NIBR), psychologist Odd Arne Tjersland and others.

Joar Svanemyr: Young men's masculinity not a “reflective project”

Joar Svanemyr, Institute of Social Medicine: On Men, Identity and Reflexivity (Om menn, identitet og refleksivitet). Summary of sociology thesis (ISO/UiO).(In Norwegian).

Svanemyr uses Bourdieu's theory of habitus, Gidden's ideas of reflexivity and Thomas Ziehe's 'free-setting' as points of departure for a small qualitative study of young Norwegian men's gender ideas and use of symbols, finding little support for Gidden's view: “the men's identity does not appear as a distanced, reflective subject”. And although “men usually react against being classified and identified with social categories”, preferring a more personal choice-based interpretation of their cultural signals and actions (like the kind of clothes they wear), and do exhibit quite some distance to the “social room” (which Svanemyr takes as indication supporting Ziehe), their gender-related identity is patterned by their socialisation experiences, social environment and class position.

(From the Norwegian Network for Studies of Men Newsletter Mannsforskning(2/96). The Newsletter also publishes a paper by Eduardo Archetti (Antropology, Univ. of Oslo) on “Masculinity in the Poetics of Argentinian Tango”. (in English). You can obtain the newsletter Mannsforskning (2/96) from Likestillingsrådet, Pb. 8036 Dep., 0030 Oslo, Norway).

Sweden: network newsletter

The Swedish Network for Studies of Men has a regular, informative and brief newsletter (oM Män) edited by Tommy Ringart - use e-mail tringart@algonet.se or fax + 8 644 03 06 in order to contact the newsletter.

An excerpt - from 3/95:

Sick leave least frequent in gender-balanced jobs: Kristina Alexanderson, Linkøping, dissertation

Biologism of society characterized introduction of gymnastics: historical study by Jens Ljunggren, Stockholm, dissertation.

Women often have definitional power over men in communication about emotions in close relations: book by the Gøteborg psychologist Åke Holmstrøm, based on crisis center experiences.

Gender stereotypes: contempt for men in kindergartens

Based on the diaries of twenty experienced preschool teachers, psychologist Pirjo Birgenstam (Lund University, Sweden) argues that women and men have the same goals yet quite different ways to get there. Birgenstam documents contempt towards the pedagogical practices of male kindergarten personnel. The project included sex-separated discussion groups and plenary debates.

Birgenstam found that women are more oriented towards people while the men focus on delimited projects and starts from general aspects of the children, emphasizing learning while women emphasized care. The women often felt they had “eyes in their neck” and could not shelter themselves from the needs of the children and the work, which seemed less of a problem among men.

A comment:: is there a trade-off here - a stereotypisation of men (“the other” of the female care culture) which has an element of contempt, yet also gives the men more insulation from the children? In fact not so different from what goes on in many families?

Men’s increasing proportion of care leave: Sweden

Sweden. In 1974, only 3 percent of those using the new parental money system (created that year) were men. The proportion has gradually risen; 10 percent in 1980 and 28 percent in 1994, reports Lisbeth Bekkengen (lisbeth.bekkengen@hks.se, Equality center, Karlstad). Through parental care leave studies, she argues, “the conflict between production and reproduction becomes more visible. Parents relate to this conflict as men and women, and thereby the power relations between the genders become manifest.” (oM Män 1/97).

Segregation of communications

Women's use of the telephone surpasses men's use by approximately 160%, according to a new Swedish study (Lena Strømberg, Lund, Sweden).

Only 8 percent of data students in Norway are women, according to recent NTNU figures, down from 15 percent in the mid-80s.


Sweden. Bo Gøran Carlsson: Religion, culture and male homosexuality. An emancipatory study. Dept. of Religion, Gothenburg University, Sweden 1996. Carlsson discusses “why it is that some religions, like the Biblical, are so marked by denial of fact and irrationality in relation to homosexuals”.

Norway. Jørgen Lorenzen: The Possibilities of Manhood. On male wonder, experience and ethics in the literature of the breakthrough of modernity. University of Oslo, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Norway 1997.

Sweden. Westberg-Wohlgemut, Hanna: Women and men are marked. Gender marking of work - a hidden process (Kvinnor och män märks. Könsmärkning av arbete - en dold process). Stockholm Universitet, Pedagogiska Institutionen. Arbetslivsinstitutet, Sweden 1996. Distinguishes between horizontal (different sorts of work) and vertical (different level) gender-related division of labor. Reports on persistence of these forms of segregation, and puts main emphasis on hidden societal curriculum, based among other material on survey showing strong masculinity association of items like job status and power.

Project plans

Paul Zuhlener: Towards the new man. Institute for Pastoraltheologie, Wien

This is a research project for understanding present problems and new paths. Zuhlener builds on “Euro-data showing that in the case of fewer jobs, women are placed next to immigrants on the list of who men think should be ‘set free’ from labor market participation”. The project is based on the hypotheses that men today experience a pressure for change due to women's development; that there are several rival dimensions of the male image, and that there is a new image of men emerging beneath the old traditional one concerning men's role in family and society. Yet Zulehner also draws attention to the “halfway” subject role of men who want to change (as 'halbierten Mann'), and the danger of a similarly “halfway development” (halbiert Entwicklung). The new man is not only half of the old but half of the new also, and the new is at first modeled in old ways.

See Debate: A comment on Zulehner’s project.

The Bjerkealleen project, Norway

The feminine culture of the kindergarten is the starting point of this project. Only a small minority (6 percent in one study) of the kindergarten employees in Norway are men. In order to recruit and also keep more men, one must improve their ability to create their own culture, using some of the methods developed in contexts where women have been in similar minority situations.

In Bjerkealleen kindergarten, Oslo, Norway, the men in the personnel discuss their role a caregivers, not just as masculine contrasts to the ‘normalcy’ of feminine care, but as care persons in their own right. Could improved gender balance in the kindergarten personnel help raise the status of the work, and also help improve its quality?

The Bjerkealleen development project is the basis for a cand. sociol. research project by Ole Bredesen, sociology, Oslo University.

Child care and information, Norway

In connection to the Bjerkealleen project, a dialogue project on men and learning is in an early phase. This will relate new business perspectives and feminist analysis to learning issues especially among men. Is it true that men’s or women’s learning, creativity and competence development in the job are hampered by care tasks in the home and family? Should care experience instead be seen as a positive career factor? How does child care experience influence job productivity, flexibility, cognitive powers and empathy?

The dialogue project is part of a Men’s development possibilities project by Øystein Gullvåg Holter, The Work Research Institute, Oslo in cooperation with psychologist and consultant Paal Rasmussen.

Men in Germany, Hungary and Chechia

Walter Hollstein and Paul Zulehner, Germany

Masculinity and its significance for society and culture

Masculinity Studies Project, Coordinacion de Humanidades, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, CD Universitaria, MEXICO D.E. 04510.

“Look for the deepest meaning in the least elevated places. Be more radical than anyone has ever been about the unknown, because what has never been asked is probably what we most need to know.  Take the unknowable more seriously than anyone ever has, because most women have died without a trace; but invent the capacity to act, because otherwise women will continue to.”

Catharine MacKinnon, quoted in the Profem-list debate

Research data base information

The IASOM research Project catalogue

This catalogue is “under construction”...

The information will be made available on the IASOM web pages.

New contributions to the research project information base

Paul von Gelder, Amsterdam: Social Risks and Opportunities of male prostitutes (1995-97). (pob. 1764, 1000 BT Amsterdam), connected to the Anthropological Sociological center at Amsterdam U (Prof. dr. H. E. Lamur).

Steven Whitehead: Public and private men - masculinities at work in education management. Ph.D. research 1993-6, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Sara Willott: The implications of unemployment and criminal activity for masculine identities ( October 1995-September 1997). University of Birmingham (e-mail s.a.willott@birmingham.ac.uk).

Karin Sandquist (see below)

We thank contributors and encourage more researchers to give a brief note to the base!

We need the following information: 1 title of project, 2 project period, 3 main discipline (psychology, etc.) 4 main hypothesis, 5 type of sample or material, 6 main project publication, 7 project leader’s name and institution, 8 total work (years) spent on project by team, 9 funding institution and 10 two-line conclusion/abstract. (All these may not be applicable).

Your information will help other researchers find useful sources.

Research materials base

We are also working on a setup for distributing quantitative and qualitative research materials on the web. This is in a preliminary phase. For now:

Quantitative surveys

Norway. Men in Norway 1988. Representative structured interview survey where 614 men were asked ca. 70 questions relating to gender and power in their life course experiences and present-day circumstances (variable list in Norwegian). The matrix file which can be read by SPSS is freely available for serious research purposes from Øystein Gullvåg Holter at the WRI, Oslo.However, international borrowers will have to help finance variable translation to English.

Qualitative materials

We encourage researchers to give note of their text or interview materials, etc., and how colleagues can use them.

Manhood's science....

“Yet as I later awoke to a reconsideration and felt my honor disgraced, I wanted to dispel it by some sort of great action, a venture (”bedrift”), a discovery or an honorable suicide. I wanted to go to war but was not allowed to. That's when I throw myself upon science."

From the drama of the Swedish playwright August Strindberg, The Father (Faderen), written in 1887 (trans.. from a quote by Jørgen Lorentzen in a Norwegian P2 Academy essay on men's studies, 1996).

- Do you think the men's studies area is important?

Yes very.

- Do you want to join IASOM?


- Are you able to be as active in the field as you want?


- Why not?

No time, no organizational support.

- What should IASOM emphasize?

Network building. Theory and method debate. Publication opportunities. More information about men's work and developments in Europe.

- What should we target as important research areas?

Male abuse survivors. Male domestic violence victims. Aboriginal men's health. More European feedback to the world.

- How are your financial opportunities for developing this research?

Not so good.

- How about the opportunities for Australia as a whole?

Not so good.

How many people would you estimate as active in the field in your country?

About 20.

What about people interested, potential or sometime active?

About 200.

(Excerpt from a IASOM questionnaire from Malcolm Tyler, social consultant and community organizer in Glenorchy, Tasmania)

Debate: Mythopoets and pro-feminists

Jørgen Lorenzen, The Institute of Comparative Literature and Nordistics, University of Oslo: Cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it - on Michael Kimmel (ed.): The Politics of Manhood. “Few of the profeminists' comments approach the movement as move-ment, something that is moving”, Lorenzen writes in a paper that argues for more cooperation and less political correctness-thinking in the men's movement.

This paper, in English, was published in the Norwegian Network newsletter Mannsforskning (2/96) which can be obtained from Likestillingsrådet, Pb. 8036 Dep., 0030 Oslo, Norway, or from the author, e-mail jorgen.lorentzen@inl.uio.no.

Yes, the Swedish feminist Eva Moberg argued at a conference in Stockholm in January on this theme. However, she differed between men and masculinity. It is a misunderstanding, she said, that ending violence is a question of control of innate (or animalistic) aggression. According to Swedish statistics, 90 percent of those taken in by the police for violence are men.

Yes, but saying only “gender is masculine” is imprecise also. And easily fundamentalist; men as gender is what we must change. Instead of men as part of society, men and women also.

Research shows that violence is created by a number of social circumstances. Not all of these are gendered or relate especially to gender. Saying “violence is masculine” without qualifying this view, without also saying violence is also power-related and conflict-related (etc.) across gender, easily becomes ideological.

I agree with the well-known feminist researcher Toril Moi, (Duke U, US/Bergen U, Norway, interviewed on current theory debate in the paper Klassekampen 12 Apr 97):

“A bad argument cannot be hidden behind saying that I have actually felt this way. In that case one should instead analyze one’s experiences in new ways. I do not agree that everyone knows best themselves what their experiences mean. The personal example is not bad because it is a personal example, but because it does not fit the argument.”

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Øystein Gullvåg Holter Men and business

Industriousness and the masculine norm

Ever since Max Weber’s portrayal of the ethics of Protestantism, the male norm and the gender segregation in modern worklife have been a ‘latent’ areas of study. Yet the cognitive acceptance of this norm plus an ignorance of women and equal status issues were for a long time dominant trends in the field, as well as in the associated business theories and more popular consultants’ philosophies (with some noteable exceptions like C. Wright Mills in the US). Today the male norm has become somewhat less marked. Yet studying men from a more egalitarian perspective is still a new proposition. It is only recently that serious studies have emerged in this area.

Can business become a balanced proposition in terms of gender? Can it be an equal affair between women and men? In Norway today, the proportion of women in politics is ten times as great as the proportion in business leadership. Internationally, also, it has become clearer that the business sector often lags behind the rest of society in terms of gender equal status. Why is this? How do we know that business-as-masculine is healthy for business itself?

Currently, the male cultural meaning or signification of 'business' is emerging more distinctly as a new, important research field. A prominent example of this tendency is the new anthology from David Collinson and Jeff Hearn, Men as Managers - Managers as Men, published by Sage, London. Here, male leadership is dissected in terms of a hidden system of lusts, homosocial (partly but not necessarily homoerotical) system of desire, a power order behind the official one, and other angles.

There can be no ignoring the fact that business has been fairly slow regarding gender equality. Yet today, it is increasingly understood that gender discrimination may mean a waste of ‘social capital’. Gender equality is good for firms, an increasing number of studies argue.

New thoughts in a time of change

“Few big business decisions can be reached by counting only, additional judgments are also needed. These additions relate to rationalities which it is not ”comme-il-faut" to speak about. (..) Yet even male leaders also use their intuition. Daring to admit that leadership also contains feelings and that these play a role is important."

Sven-Erik Sjøstrand, Prof.. at Handelsakademiet, Stockholm (LA Dialog 1/97)

“The next phase has been a humanization of work life. The personal sphere and work life is increasingly allowed to interact. Old structures are dissolving. (..) [Traditionally,] the system sphere has dominated the life world. People have believed that the system sphere is the end, the personal sphere the means. Yet work is also a place for personal development, and the well-being of the people employed is not only a means for growth. Both are legitimate perspectives. When they converge, there is a synergy effect.”

Claes Trollestad, researcher at Handelsakademiet, Stockholm (LA Dialog 1/97)

“The seminars of the Leadership Academy on young people in business have shown that the young quickly conform to the perceived norms of their employers. Therefore it is important to catch their ideas before they are formed in order to create a dialogue on expectations on the basis of work.”  

Christina Franzén, Director of The Leadership Academy, Stockholm

“When customers' demand push an issue, it is quickly and effectively brought forwards. In the future, gender equality will become a natural part of the firm's customer-driven quality work. In order to meet harder competition, it is important to always have improvement as a goal, whether it concerns aluminum profiles or gender equality work.”

Lars Johansson, director of The Profile Group AB, Sweden (1997 National Equal Status conference, Växjö).  

Young leaders and new leadership

According to Swedish researchers, care-oriented equality norms work well in firms; “profitable firms look to people's life conditions” (Öivind Engebö). Swedish leaders discuss new humanitarian forms of leadership based on gender equality on the conferences and courses of the new Leadership Academy. One projects aims at understanding more of young people today, leaders especially, and how business may relate to their potentials and problems.

This new trend for egalitarianism in the private sector - countering and following a period of breakup of many of the welfare state benefits of the ‘Folk Home’ with heavy downsizing and restructuring - is interesting and promising in an otherwise fairly depressed Swedish economic-political situation. Compared to the more complacent Norwegians (with the oil), the Swedes have been backed up in a corner and are now learning new things.

“The wife's place is in the home!”

So says a main headline in the Norwegian paper Dagens Næringsliv ( Sunday 31 Aug. 96) followed by a reportage showing that headhunters and firms often prefer top leaders who have a partner to take care of the home and the children, and that this principle (and its implications of non-sharable jobs and 24 hours heroic leadership) is still connected to the convention that the man is the one who should take the job.

“If you select fetching the child [in the kindergarten], you deselect your career”, argues psychologist Thor Johansen at the Institute of organizational Development. “There are good reasons why couples choose to emphasize one of the partners’ careers. Life on the top is characterized by ever shorter response times in order to make things happen. The leader who goes to work in the morning can be asked to be in New York in the evening. (..) Also, having a wife at home still confers status among male leaders.”

The interviews of couples in the paper does not show a group of anti-egalitarianists, however, but people who have had to choose the one-partner-career alternative, more or less against their will. Their main point is that they want to care for their children and that as things stand, usually with economy as one main factor, they have found out that the man should take the job and the woman the child.

A new agenda

Should we expect “a new social agenda” in business to appear as a set of rules? Or, rather, as an entrepreneurial process? Probably some of both, possibly mainly the latter. The new awareness on men and equality issues is a point in case.

Despite traditional and new forms of resistance, an increasing number of voices call for a change regarding business life and for more action regarding its lacking contribution to equal status. In Norway, what Johansen describes in terms of leaders being sanctioned for fetching children goes for some traditional firms, while others have been successful building on alternative traditions for a number of years. In the latter group, there is an emphasis, instead, on relating to leaders and employees as full persons.

Generally, business has a growing public image problem, which becomes especially marked when the male norm is broken in culture and politics - not dissolved, but no longer monolithic. This has been achieved in Scandinavia over the last two decades and can be found as a tendency world-wide.

Even with 42 percent women in the government, 39 percent in the parliament, a country like Norway only has 3 percent women on the top leadership level in the private sector (NHO area, 1996). Voices ask why business can keep on with the old system, as if nothing happened, when everyone else in society should try to achieve full equality between women and men (what is called the “integration policy”; the goal that sexism and inegalitarian relations should be dismantled in all areas).

In the future, customers can be expected increasingly to ask equity questions and demand standards, like they ask ecological questions today. A growing minority of business leaders are realizing that the idea that “equality hurts effectiveness” may be a piece of patriarchal dogma. They do not accept the premises of a theory that what Johansen calls “shorter response times” requires more patriarchal arrangements. Or that women’s traditional activities are less important than men’s, or that technology ranks above life - or other fossilised ideas.

“Dialogue willingness”

Debate, conferences and seminars show awareness of gender and men as an emerging framework and issue in the private sector.

In Norway, March 1997, many people who probably would have been less willing to talk with each other twenty years ago - if not just crying slogans at each other - met in order to discuss “Working life and family in a period of restructuring (omstilling)”. This varied gathering included feminist-minded researchers as well as trade union, government and employers' union representatives. Among the contributors at were Prof.. Agneta Stark (Stockholm U); Bjørn Willadsen, publishing director; Yngve Haagensen, trade union (LO) leader, Karl Glad of the employers' union (NHO), government representatives, and researchers (including Charlotte Koren, Marit Hoel, Tom Colbjørnsen and others from Norway and Liz Bargh from Opportunity 2000, London).

The conference is part of an international trend which is important and interesting both in terms of organizations and in terms of development of knowledge.

Generally, there are three main parties to the new kind of dialogue - the women, and the various groups of men, meaning mainly employers and employees. What is new is that there is a conscious attempt to bring women’s perspectives into the center, with at least some power to define the world at large.

Some trends appear. Bringing in different women’s perspectives (lower level women, home workers) seems of major long-term importance, in order to move beyond the ‘triadic’ situation described, with its dangers that male hegemony is reestablished. In this perspective, the dialogue process also be new in “form”, connected to networking and horizontal relations.

A key strategic goal is to shift “gender” from the side of cost to the side of income in the organizational outlook and practices. The may be achieved by going beyond formal gender equality, to informal desegregation and a dissolution of men’s view as “norm”, in a more balanced co-working and dialogue.

Although this kind of process needs public opinion and pressure to initiate, it cannot mainly be imposed upon business from the outside, pushed from the state above or from labor below, it must instead develop mainly as a business matter.

The minimal requirements for introducing this new form of process includes an acceptance that greater equality could be beneficial, and a dialogue willingness among feminists, business, and union leaders or activists.

Probably, this kind of development/equality process will gain ground in the coming years, despite setbacks. In turn, the process may turn into a movement of more general organizational significance for work life organization in general, including how to ‘untie’ or at least soften up old class-related patterns.

Today, we see the contours of such a process based on a combination of free initiative and business entrepeneurism with broadly defined pro-equality and feminist goals, a process brought about mainly through free initiative and networking linked to egalitarian cooperation between women and men. This is now “surfacing” also at the top levels of many organizations (or in some cases, surfacing there first).

This will require new research that more consciously addresses gender and other hierarchy and differentiation issues at the same time, and it will be easier to construct better models and theories as more specific problems appear.

For example, consider the problems of male-dominated middle management (as gender, stratum or class layer, etc.) when the top has committed itself to plans to introduce greater gender equality at this level. We know about status fall among men in traditional terms, yet now we can reinterpret these in view of the new gender issues, or what gender brings up in the organization. This is a new angle.

Now, groups in the organizational structure can be perceived in a more consistent perspective, since what was thought women-only (or men-only/’normal’) becomes understandable as part of wider social processes. One can compare, and better yet, relate, since masculinity and feminity exist as relation, although often hidden relation. Hopefully, all this means a more coherent “gender, class and other issues” kind of research, with less strictures and energy spent on protecting “just this equality issue” from the world at large.

When gender researchers meet business, look at business from the perspective of their own subjects, what appears in the connection with their subject is not so much class relations in the old manner, but a broader spectrum of inner-sex and cross-sex ranking. This belongs to the constitution of masculine/feminine as socially effective dimension or ‘force field’. Relations between the sexes are linked to relations within them. Much of this is informal, some of it exists only in body language, symbols, silences, some of it even unconscious; together it is like a broad tapestry. Gender researchers do not evaluate the world mainly according to class issues, but according to gender issues, so they regard the threads in the weave according to how they are tied to continued discrimination of women.

Gender theorists almost unanimously agree that in-depth disciplinary processes and blocked learning are involved in gender discrimination. Often, it is precisely the links between gender, class, ‘race’ and other ranking systems that seems most central, ‘disciplinary strongholds’ that block inovation. Also, much recent evidence suggests that the disciplinary system has an important background (only sometimes manifest) connection to hidden victimization practices in the organization.

“Talking at” is what you do when you fight.

Example: crying slogans at someone.

“Talking to” is what you do when you command.

Example: giving orders.

“Talking with” is what you do when you share.

Moving from “talking at” and “talking to” towards “talking with” means a movement towards less discriminating and victimizing forms of communication.

To be able to move, to sustain the process, however, the institutions and organizational frameworks and sanctions supporting the old way must be freely examined and allowed to change.

Work evaluation

New work evaluation systems may be part of future gender equality standards as part of quality control management.

In Norway, a new parliamentary report (NOU 1997:10) argues that work evaluation (arbeidsvurdering), though somewhat open for subjective errors (indeed, so much so that it can become a “double-edged sword” against equal status), can nevertheless be used consciously and restrictively in order to raise the value of typically women-dominated work.

Further sources

From 'The Woman's' Point of View: Feminist Approaches to Organization Studies.

In Clegg, Hardy & Nord 1996: Handbook of Organization Studies, Sage.

Journal of Contemporary Change Management, 10, 2, 1997

Publications from the Swedish Business Leadership Academy, Birger Jarls gt. 13, Stockholm, Sweden

Opportunity 2000 publications (UK)

‘Family friendly’ firms and work/family studies (mainly in Europe and the US)

IASOM encourages research on new forms of change and equity potentials in business support and activities. We also plan specific activities in this area in the next years.

Please contact Mike Whitty or the editor for further information:

Mike Whitty, Research Director,

The FutureWork Institute,

c/o Mike Whitty, University of Detroit Mercy,

Box 19900 Detroit, MI 48219 USA

Fax +313 993 1052. E-mail whittymd@udmercy

Robert Connell: Australian research on men and masculinity

Australian debates on masculinity have followed a trajectory broadly similar to that of other English-speaking countries. Some differences result from Australia's semi-colonial economic and cultural position, and from the political strength of labour, and the interplay between the state and social movements.

The rapid development of the Women's Liberation movement in the 1970s produced little public debate about masculinity, but many local attempts to remake relationships between men and women, and some men's consciousness-raising groups. Significant groups of men supported “Equal Opportunity” programs for women. By the early 1980s some left-wing men were trying to theorise masculinity as a problem in socialist politics. I wrote an essay on “men and socialism” in 1982; Glen Lewis published Real Men Like Violence in 1983; and a special issue of the journal Intervention on masculinity and violence (called War/Masculinity) came out in 1985.

An active Gay Liberation movement developed in the 1970s and called into question the homophobia of conventional masculinity. Dennis Altman's pioneering book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation (1972) was widely read and influential. In the 1980s gay communities established unusually effective relationships with governments around HIV-AIDS issues. This resulted (inter alia) in funding for extensive research on gay men's sexuality.

The research by Susan Kippax and Gary Dowsett especially (e.g. Sustaining Safe Sex, 1993) is the most sophisticated Australian work on men's sexuality.

From the mid 1980s there was increasing recognition in the social sciences and humanities that feminist work on gender and the position of women implied a need for research on men and masculinity. David Buchbinder's work in cultural studies, Masculinities and Identities, was published in 1994. In the field of history, a controversy arose over the Australian national identity (a favourite topic for historians) and its implicit masculinity. Historical research has been done on men's position in domestic life (Michael Gilding, The Making and Breaking of the Australian Family, 1991) and the definition of masculinity in a country town (Peter West).

It was in sociology, however, that the most active development has occurred. An argument for “a new sociology of masculinity” was published in 1985 (Carrigan, Connell and Lee), and an increasing number of empirical studies have followed. Mike Donaldson's Time of Our Lives (1991) analysed masculinity, work and family in the industrial city of follongong. Jim McKay has analysed the role of tgemonic masculinity in commercial sports and mass media. Steven Tomsen has studied masculinity and violence in public places such as hotels; Lin Walker has studied masculinity and motor vehicles in working-class life. In 1991 a conference on masculinity research was convened at the Sociology department of acquarie University in Sydney - expected to be about 20, it suddenly expanded to about 60 people. Some of the papers at this conference were published in a special issue of Theory and Society (1993). My book Masculinities, with case studies of four groups of Australian men, appeared in 1995. Anthony McMahon's critique of theories of masculinity is soon to be published in full. Currently a number of PhD theses are being written about issues of masculinity in sociology, education and psychology.

Educational research has already produced field work on the making of masculinity, including James Walkeis Louts and Legends, (1988). In the last few years there has been an active public debate about boys' education and the role of masculinities in schools. This includes research on sexual harassment by boys in schools, a media controversy about boys' alleged “failure” in examinations, and a parliamentary inquiry into boys' education in the State of New South Wales in 1994. Excellent research into masculinity and elementary schooling has been done by education researchers such as Bronwyn Davies and Ellen Jordan. New work on the secondary curriculum is reported in a special issue of  Interpretations (an English teachers' journal) edited by Wayne Martino. Currently, around Australia, existing policies promoting the education of girls are being replaced by “gender equity policies” which include statements on the education of boys, amid vigorous debate about the rationale of policy about boys.

Sara Breinlinger: A UK study of men's feminism

The aim my thesis is to take a closer look at the different responses men are making towards feminism. This is a two-part study; part one involves a Q-sort story which looks at the attitudes of a random sample of men towards feminism. The second part is an investigation into the “men's movemenent” of Great Britain. The focus will be on both anti- and pro feminist men's groups.

1) Q-sort study looking at men's responses to feminism

Q-sort methodology combines a quantitative technique for the measurement of subjectivity with the use of interviews (Brown 1980). Q technique is a procedure  whereby a sample of statements are placed in a significant order, e.g. “disagree” - “agree” - with the final arrangement comprising the Q-sport. Q-sorts from various different people can then be correlated and factor analyzed. The resulting factors indicate clusters of people who have arranged the statements in essentially the same way, suggesting that they share a similar viewpoint. Interpretation of each factor is achieved by first inspecting the original Q-sorts and then using follow-up interviews with the participants who define each factor. This method is thought particularly appropriate because the interest here is not in imposing an a priori structure on men's responses to feminism, but allowing these to emerge from the data.

The items for the Q-sort map onto a number of possible strategies related to men's perceptions and reactions to feminism. The litterature argues that there are a multiplicity of responses to feminism by men, in that some ignore it, others systematically denigrate its arguments, and others welcome its political implications (see for example - Kimmel, 1987; Brittan, 1989; Connell, 1987). The items selected will reflect these perspectives and those proposed in Social Identity Theory. These theoretical perspectives will provide different possible frameworks in which the data can be analyzed.

2. Investigation of Men's movement - interview and questionnaire data

The main source of data will come from interviews with  members of different men's groups, and from questionnaire data. I also intent to undertake some content/discourse analysis of media material (TV, radio programmew newspaper articles) which has addressed these issues. Although men's groups have been around since the 1970s these were mainly pro-feminist, consciousness raising groups, it is only recently that an anti-feminist men's movement has emerged. This new movement can be characterised as a 'backlash' against femininisms. In this regard there are a number of interesting questions: Why do men get involved in formal political activity of this kind and what do men get out ot participation in men's groups?

My main starting point for analyzing this data is Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner, l986). I would like to look at how in this context a collective identity is developed and the strategies men are using in response to the challenge that feminism presents. ln relation to understanding why men become involved in men's groups, I will be using the framework of Relative Deprivation Theory and looking at the importance of personal and ¢ollective relative deprivation for collective action.  How is relative deprivation socially constructed? What is the impact on group identification on this process? I will also look at the type of attributions men involved in these groups are making for a) the discrimination the perceive against both men and women; and b) the so called “crisis of masculinity” (unemployment etc). This analysis will look at what functions these attributions serve and to what extent they are shared between members of different groups. There is of course a growing literature on the nature of different forms of masculinity which will also be addressed in this thesis.

International project debate

Themes for an international survey

A large international project, discussed in earlier issues of the newsletter, depends on the establishment of a group of experienced researchers who do not just share a perspective but a more concrete question list and research agenda also. We are not there yet, but we are getting closer.

In my view, the project should consist of a kernel module with a representative survey and a smaller interview study, as well as connected more qualitative modules. A minimal number of countries (5?) should be represented, hopefully 15-25.

A representative survey is not enough and not always feasible. The smaller interview study can be designed using halfway structured interviews performed by researchers and other trained personnel. I believe that this dual approach (study/survey) is important in order to enhance the project as a whole, in an effort to.combine subjectivity and objectivity.

The ideal kernel study could be a series of life course structured interviews (2-3) given to a minimum of 25 men and women in each regional/national sample, preferably more. If this cannot be followed up by a survey, the study should use a representative sample, if it can, strategic samples should be allowed also.

The interview study and the survey can be constructed on the basis of a list of themes, and structured according to life course individual chronology. Questions relate to the person’s path along the life course; focused on men’s behavior and experiences in gender-relevant areas. Here is an item list:

Men and women

- men’s changing sex role socialization patterns (adults memory reports)

- men in dyadic relations in current unions or marriages

- men in relation to women in work life

Men and men

- men's class relations and changing class mobility

- how class relations are linked with gender issues

- ethnicity, racism and masculinity

- homophobia and sexual discrimination among men

Patriarchal traits

- systems of ranking and repression that hinders men’s equal status participation and inhibit the care potential in men, mapped especially as regards

- degree and form of authoritarianism and related power phenomena

- degree and form of reification of human relationships

- men’s self-relationships (disembodiment/embodiment; soma, psyche)

Oppression of women among men

- patterns of violence and abuse

- patterns of exploitation of women

Men's change possibilities

- egalitarian factors in the life course

- men's relational work and emotional 'bearbeiding' - possibilities

- how learning, gender and power is related among men

- new patterns of identity, culture and work/family adaptation especially among younger men

Besides introspectional data, health and background data should be included. Health data should be included in the survey and may be developed in new ways in qualitative studies (cf. Frigga Haug's group). Data on authoritarianism can be created on the basis of dialogue with the authoritarian personality studies traditions and others.In the questionnaire design, we can have men answering one version of the questions (answering mostly for themselves), women another (answering partly for themselves and partly regarding men).

The main research task is to extend our knowledge of men's possibilities for advance in favor of gender equity, focusing on obstacles and how to remove them.

I ask IASOM members to consider contributing to this sketch being realized. Could you do a representative survey or a smaller-scale study in your country/region? Would you join a special IASOM task group in order to help create the first large international study of men and equality? This will probably cost you in terms of time, and will include bothersome work like writing applications for funding. Yet there is a great challenge in such a project. I ask all to be very realist about possibilities. The group needs to be able to work as a group, and we need a demonstrated capability for networking before we eventually try to realize the project. Yet with your contributions, we can probably move into a 'formulation, exploration and pilot study phase' within a year or two.

Although the project has an empirical focus, we know that theory and method development needs special emphasis.

Robert Connell has written about Australian possibilities for participating in an international study (under a heading like “Men in work and family life”). Connell writes:

“It is possible that Australian funding might be found for a study here, and an international partnership would certainly help; the national funding body is very keen on that”. He asks if we have any planning documents yet - sorry to say, no; I can only refer to the discussion in the IASOM newsletters - including the above draft.

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Øystein Gullvåg Holter: More on authoritarianism

As discussed in the last IASOM Newsletter (3,1), the World War 2 left European social researchers with a great sense of shock, and on American initiative the research on the “authoritarian personality”that had courageously emerged in the face of nazism in Germany in the late 1920s and 30s was taken up and broadened.

I noted that although the authoritarian personality tradition is often hazy in terms of sociological mid-level theory and institutional patterns and also mostly lacks feminist perspectives, it nevertheless represents a main point of departure for current studies of men.

I demonstrated this using Norwegian representative material, showing how a specific type of father absence, similar to the one theorized by Max Horkheimer of the authoritarian personality theorists, connected to not criticizing the absent father, had a dramatic impact on the Norwegian political scene - “dramatic” since generally one finds that family-of-origin variables have only weak effects in politics. The men with divorced and idealized absent father in their socialization experience were strongly ooverrepresented among the neo-right-wing voters, especially the younger ones.

In other words, we have evidence that what Robert Bly calls “the father wound” is part of the recreation of certain political tendencies. These are not as openly authoritarian as the kinds of tendencies described by Horkheimer, yet they resemble the latter by building on “victimisation logic” (a politics based on hostility towards immigrants, especially).

A Swedish researcher comments this:

“Even more than young women, young men are governed by their traditional gender role when choosing an educational career. Regardless of their individual aptitude, most young men choose to study science and technology”, Karin Sandquist (Stockholm Institute of Education, +46 8 737 55 84) reports from a project based on 1980-88 data (N=9000).

Sandquist writes of two new papers based on longitudinal and other material, of which the first, “Dimensions of parenting”, “ties in nicely with the publications in the last newsletter, about father-son relations and authoritarianism. This is also true for my earlier study on the importance of the absent father.”

She continues:

“Together, these studies tell us that having no father-contact is quite disastrous for a boy, but the father does not necessarily have to reside in the home. If there are a father and a mother in the home, the 'social competence' of boys is enhanced, provided that the father is involved in a 'motherlike' fashion and not just restricting himself to playing with the boy. - A study of 'verbal boys' shows that men are even more restricted by social expectations than women, at least in some ways.”

My presentation in the last issue did not say much of the Norwegian tradition in the authoritarianism research field, and the following is included for further information:

The Norwegian Nationalism Project

Researchers: Christian Bay, Ingemund Gullvåg, Harald Ofstad and Herman Tønnessen, with Arvid Ammundsen (statistics) (project group 1950-54).

Theory outline: Nationalism. A study of identification with people and power. Institute for Social Research (ISF), Oslo 1950

Questionnaire: Created in cooperation with Herbert Hyman, a critique of the US project, Analysis in cooperation with Else Frenkel-Brunswick, David Krech and others.

Survey date: 1951

Sample: 509 adults in Oslo. Incidental sample.

Summary of results: Harald Ofstad: Nationalism and Innocent Aggression. TSF 7:199-240 (1966). In Norwegian.

Model: Among the independent variables, five factors are targeted, moralism, reservedness, authoritarian preferences and uncritical acceptance - interrelating with the fifth, central factor, projective aggression. These five are related to denial of one's own aggression. This is called the innocent aggression syndrome. Through a series of modifying variables and control variables (gender, age, centrality, education etc.), the syndrom enhances the dependent variables. Of these, three are primary - power-oriented nationalism, individual nationalism and perceptual nationalism, and five are secondary; intolerance, anti-semitism, authoritarian attitudes towards worker/capitalist issues, towards other states, and towards other minorities.


“The two dominant themes in the syndrome are innocence and aggression. If we keep to those scoring highly on projective aggression, the aggression is expressed through a spectrum running from positive attitudes to brutal punishment and to emphasis on discipline and distance to other people. Yet the aggression does not appear nakedly. It is legitimized and made innocent by being channeled through the generally accepted institutions of society: punishment and morals. (..) They are positive to punishment and moralistic condemnation. The aggression is projected on the outer world, yet these high-scorers do not experience this 'outer aggression' as in any way related they themselves being aggressive persons. Quite the contrary. They see themselves as unagressive. Those scoring low, on the other hand, also experience themselves as more problematical, more aggressive, and therefore have problems accepting aggressive measures even when used in the name of accepted institutions. The thought: 'Am I positive to this aggressive measure because I myself am aggressive?' lies there, more or less conscious, in the mind of the low-scorers. The aggressive person, on the other hand, lives before the Flood.” (Ofstad 1966:237-8, my trans.)

Having shown that the empirical study did yield a convincing cluster, a 'syndrome', Ofstad also says: “Especially in the wake of The Authoritarian Personality it became, for a while, very popular to talk of different personality types, the authoritarian among them. Yet such conceptual constructions easily lead to the association that one has, thereby, marked the evil ones, and draws the researcher towards a kind of psychological race ideology. It is wise, therefore, to avoid expression like 'the authoritarian personality'”. (ibid.).

Comment: As argued in IASOM vol. 3 no. 1, the 1950s studies generally did not investigate authoritarianism as a life course process, nor did they connect it to patriarchal and gender-related traits. In the Norwegian case, gender was treated as an external modifying variable, and left in the periphery of attention. This said, however, the Norwegian study contributes to the main picture that there is indeed something “there” concerning authoritarianism, and is interesting especially in its focus on masked or denied aggression. The underlying question characterizing postwar Norway, why some people supported the nazis, while others remained “good Norwegians”, is not answered, yet the study confirms the importance of social psychological background variables. Since these are measured as traits, not investigated as family-, gender- and work-related patterns and pictured as cultural and social processes, however, we do not know much about them.

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Men in movement...

Get out of the thought bubble”, a new Norwegian organization argues: men should be more active, changing their role. You can find them on the internet - http://www.men.no/men/ - starting with a profile fairly indicative of the Norwegian setting: “a more survival-prone man and father role”.

This sounds fine. Become egalitarian or else. Which makes me think: often it is the kind of survival which is the issue. As for the thought bubble, however, MIM does not advocate antiintellectualism, instead it seems to try widening men's consciousness under the “You're ok, I'm ok” slogan, and it also makes a main issue of its support for the new studies of men in its first (summer 96) newsletter, edited by Heming Leira.


Frequently Asked Questions

Note: This is a preliminary version of our questions list for the web site, prepared by the editor. You’ll find that things are missing here and you may also disagree with the answers. We trust that our readers will be creative, providing comments or better answers (these may be included in a future ‘discussion’ setup of this list on the web site).

Q I hear of “studies of men” or “men's studies” or “critical studies of men”, and other names. Why can't they use the same designation?

There are several reasons. The field is new and still not quite defined. Also people do not want to close it off prematurely. Further, the names differ due to different research conditions in different countries and different researchers' convictions.

Q Is IASOM pro-feminist?


Q Does IASOM advocate “political correctness”?


Many IASOM members would probably argue that the idea that liberation from patriarchy should be especially “correct” betrays its own immaturity, i.e. the very reasons why organizations like IASOM are needed. We are not a political men’s group.

Q Why should men's studies be pro-feminist?

Because men's gender cannot be understood without some minimal acceptance of women as subjects. The “subject” of men and the “method” of a pro-feminist or gender-egalitarian perspective are inherently connected in present culture and society. Without such a perspective, men's gender is understood as fits men  and/or patriarchy, i.e. once more neutralized and normalized. What we have, then, is not only a distorted picture of many aspects of society. It is also a picture that hides main areas of the reality of men.

Q I often meet the words gender critique, gender systems theory and patriarchy. What do they mean?

These words are often used in the studies of men field as well as in other areas of gender studies and other feminist research.

Gender critique usually means uncovering the gendered aspects of social relations, while patriarchy the power or dominance associated with gender. Gender or gender/power systems theory usually concern how the two interact.

Patriarchy generally means the power imbalance between the sexes, or the total gap before full equality is achieved, but many researchers now use it more specifically for the causes of discrimination of women. It does not mean ‘men’. Gender systems or gender/power systems theory is usually similar to patriarchy theory, concerning how a combination of gender and power exists in our society, no longer seen as a “women's sphere”, but a wider, less visible gender/power-coexistence-system, making gender and power 'inner' associates. The theories therefore have two dimensions, differentiation on the one hand and stratification on the other, yet distinguishing between them is often a main problem.

Q Why are men different from patriarchy, as you argue?

We know the two are distinct, how close or distant is another matter. Yet in order to find out, we cannot presuppose that men equal patriarchs or power holders. That is not a research-based conclusion. This matter can only be decided through broad empirical investigation, which includes better theories about inequality or patriarchy. Better research on men requires understanding more of men's power. This, however, differs from saying that men are their power.

Q What do men lose in unequal relations?

For men, patriarchy often appears as a double deal - you win some, you lose some. What is lost is more hidden than what one wins. It often concerns the feminine-related traits of men, what is creative yet not sanctioned and not ‘competitive’ in the narrow sense. Also,authority and identity come into this, a knot tied through what psychologists may call a double bind. In fact, the double bind theory was created from an extreme patriarchal dilemma, the situation of the common soldier in the slaughterfield of World War 1.

In three main ways men are themselves also losers in the present gender arrangement. Their dominance, or at least patterns associated with their style of dominance, costs them seriously in terms of health, crime, unsocial behavior, lack of empathy and learning, unrealized love and contact with oneself and others. Men experience losses on a personal level. Secondly, there is another, more dominance-related loss involved, since many experience that women are unwilling to carry their burden as women did earlier; the uprising of women has created more differentiation from patriarchal traits also among men. We see it, for example, in young men's anger with their fathers. Over the last ten years, a third factor has also emerged; there are tendencies also in work life that point men towards greater gender equality.

Q But how can men lose, being the gender in power?

According to main traditions of feminism, especially in the 1970s, it is not quite true that men are in power. Instead feminists argued that inegalitarian or patriarchal society held power, not just power over women but over men also. How such a system places men and women in terms of relative power is important, but nevertheless another matter.

Recently, gender researchers have started discussing whether feminism later turned away from patriarchy or inequality analysis in favor of targeting men, the ‘obvious’ answer to the ‘why’ question. Some warn that research thereby reinforces the cultural stereotype of the masculine as all-powerful, since men's gender automatically signifies power, even if it is now in a negative version rather than the traditional positive version.

Others have argued that words like patriarchy only takes attention away from men’s dominance here and now; ‘dethroning’ men from the position of the independent variable behind the oppression of women means ignoring or downplaying men’s responsibility (see below). Others again argue this is not so; this is not a question of “men or society” but men in society.

In any event, investigating men’s losses does not require closing an eye on their benefits. Instead the two should be studied as a whole, a more or less conflicting and coherent pattern in men’s lives.

Q What does “enhancing men’s lives” mean?

(This is a formulation in the IASOM platform, borrowed from The National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) in the US.)

The problem is not men, but men as part of non-egalitarian, sexist or patriarchal patterns. Reducing men’s power in these relations means empowering men in terms of human contact and life quality. Research can contribute to enhancing men’s lives by studying egalitarian practices, possibilities and potentials among men, and what kinds of institutions are needed in order to accommodate them. It can help men become more conscious of how the problem ‘settles’ on the male role, how they can ‘unsettle’ it personally and organisationally, getting out of ‘patriarchal loops’. In some studies, men appear tolose in life quality what they gain in asymmetrical power and wealth, and some conflict at this point is a main common finding in the field. Deconstruction is still needed in masculinity studies, splitting up the image of the real man, helping men untangle this knot.

Q Do both parties in “the gender war” portray men differently from what they really are?

Yes, we have reason to believe so. There is a distortion, not as an act of will, more like a constant gender fetishism, which has been a much-debated theme in feminist research regarding women. It has been discussed in terms of the ‘double’ existence of women, women as ‘radically unknown’, etc. Recent studies of men and masculinities indicate that this process does not only exist on the women's side, and if women experience more of it, men may experience as subtle transformations and perhaps also as insidious effects of it.

Here one might consider the feminist socialization theories where women’s early life power becomes part of what recreates patriarchy (Dorothy Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur. In this ‘bleak’ feminist view, women as mothers become main links in their own oppression as women. Yet men’s role as oppressors is often taken for granted. in the more popular view of Nancy Chodorow, the little boy is already a masculine figure, who dwells on sex organ differences like an adult male, gaining his very identity through this (his becoming ‘not-mother’, in Chodorow’s term). Boys are masculinised and equipped with the masculine normative set not just in family processes but also in much presumed knowledge about them.

Most researchers in the men’s study field, and especially many clinicians and therapists, would probably say that their evidence gives some support on this point, that men have an inner self which all too often has been shut down or hidden in favour of an among-men-position and an identity based on being above women - even if this may have been ‘delegated’ from the mother more than the father in the dynamics of the family of origin. Although the kinds of relations (family dynamics and others) transmitting patriarchal patterns are still often vague, and the tendency to target the mother only should be avoided, they are increasingly being focused in current research.

Q What exactly is the problem? Who do we hear that “men have no words”?

Again: We don't know exactly. What researchers are getting to know is more of the problem, its factual existence and importance. Many would argue that it concerns “social size distortion” as well as the problems of identity and subjectivity mentioned above.

As long as we perceive and conceive of men as “socially larger” than women, more responsible for what goes on, we are misled; our free development as human beings is impaired. Further, we know that this impairment is linked to other global social problems.

Some would argue that as long as the pro- et contra men debate rests on the aggrandisation premise (”you are responsible, men as men are responsible”), it may not really matter whether men are also blamed for their greatness, since the basic imbalance, the patriarchal model is retained anyway.

Q What about men’s responsibility?

Men’s responsibility in this context means how men can contribute to equal status , equal benefits and burdens between women and men in society. For that, we need research on what creates change and what hinders it, which is what patriarchy theory, gender systems theory etc. may be used for.

The idea that understanding inequality or patriarchy means disregarding men or men's responsibility is misleading. Knowing about low atmospheric pressure does not mean we have to disregard the rain. It is not true that a ‘structural’ (or, god forbid, functionalist!) theory means that the individual actor is reduced or dropped; it often can be used that way (as can any theory), but it needs not, and it is anyway necessary, we have to use what Robert Connell calls ‘the big picture’ anyway, in order to create better actor theories and ‘mid-level’ analyses.

This sort of view has been called “the new institutional turning” in social science in the 90s.

Q Can women be patriarchs, men in oppressed positions?

To a some extent the answer is yes, since this is often a matter of social positions and not the person's gender. Yet gender also plays a major role for who has power and who has not. In addition, we know that oppression is anyway easily perceived as fixed in terms of gender, variation is overlooked. The answer seems “really” to be no.

Psychologists have shown that we tend to get disturbed by, not take as valid, or simply forget cases of people crossing between positions, personnel with unfit sex in sex-stereotypical jobs, etc.

Women as well as men can be oppressors in work life or home life, living exploitative lives and behaving in ways that are harmful or nonbeneficial to others. Yet their distribution between power and non-power positions is different. Patriarchy theory concerns why this is so.

Q If gender is so power- and exploitation-related as often appears in critical theory in this field, is love between women and men on the whole corrupt also?

No - neither the love between people of different nor the same sex. Love, like gender, can be connected to dominance, and often is, but precisely therefore it is the task of research not to reduce it analytically to dominance, not to give in to surface fetishism, not imply that all things gendered are patriarchal. Nor should we assume that all things patriarchal are gendered, or walk around with a sign saying “Look, I am a gender issue! I oppress women!”

Some form of social organization of the sex difference - gender - exists everywhere as a cross-cultural social system with no necessary connection to patriarchy. This transcultural gender is more or less closely connected to the main definition of love in society. The idea of love as ‘aggressively heterosexual’ (homophobia, etc.) has been shown to be more of a modern patriarchal phenomenon than was earlier admitted (Foucault and many).

Partner selection studies and other research on love show a mixture and often a conflict between personal motives and love on the one hand, and social hierarchy (class, gender, ‘race’ etc.) on the other.

Q But is not this “power-gender” which is also sexually oppressive, as a process of our times, also mainly a rich world/upper class process? Is it not ultimately tied to big money and big power?

This is true for some patriarchal traits, and perhaps for the central dynamics of the system, yet it is not true for other traits.

It is true that in our society, patriarchal traits connected to reification, control, corruption, distortion of love etc. have been most evident in the top of the social pyramid. Yet other patriarchal traits seem to be rather invariant in terms of class and other ranking systems, while some traits probably even vary inversely.

Assuming a link between power and gender does not mean assuming that the link is direct. Historically such views where gender is directly translated to other forms of power, mainly class, have become romanticist and irrealistic (cf. the “true love of the working class”), and patriarchal in terms of their consequences (hiding the oppression of women among workers).

Like class oppression, gender oppression can be worse, for its victims, further down in the system; so we may for example find more violence in working class homes, yet all this does not mean it necessarily mainly originated here. Here as elsewhere we may distinguish between the main processes recreating patriarchal relations, and their various forms and links through the social structure.

Q Why does patriarchy theory differ from male dominance theory?

Male dominance theory may be seen as a part of patriarchy theory. The latter concerns all oppression of women and its social context, while male dominance theory concerns men as part of this context and as originators and/or means of oppression. Patriarchy theory has especially included ranking among men and also ranking irrespective of sex; i.e. all ranking or dominance which is connected to sex stratification. Most feminist theorists, regardless of their favourite term - patriarchy, gender/power system, etc. - have seen some connection between men dominating women, and men dominating each other. Generally this has been strengthened by research, recently also in the studies of men field.

Consider the link in “the boss strikes the man, strikes his wife, strikes the child, kicks the cat” - a saying with many variants. The chain is not simply “gendered”. Class, ‘race’, anything might come into it - in principle, since it is a victimization principle. ‘Hit the one below you, and your rule is assured’. This is the basis of mobbing, and patriarchal discrimination may be seen as one application of the victimization principle with women and the feminine as main victim.We have more evidence of these links today than twenty years ago. There is evidence of chains of transferred violence, oppression experiences (especially of the weaker of the two parties, but also the stronger) which is later activated towards a third party, for example in wife battering. At each point in a victimization order, hitting the one below also means hurting something inside.

We can hypothesize a “striking order” or economy with its counterpart in the “stroking economy”. Striking tends to occur downwards, stroking upwards in order. - Many approaches are possible and called for at this point.

Q Yes,this may be a place to start. I want to focus on the body. What do I do to start body work with men?

Many IASOM psychologists could give you advice. Reading the work of Frigga Haug and other pioneers of this methods would be a first step, then considering what differs for men compared to women, and finally going out to explore and combine methods. Or cycle between the three. But it should be noted that theory of society, history, and social structure is again important. It is true that bodies speak and that social science theories have been artificially disembodied and now need to be more consciously embodied. Still body language is partly social, and what we need to understand is often precisely how (and why) these social conflicts become incorporated, embodied in condensed or fixed form, including the psychosomatic connection.

Q What does pro-feminism mean, in developing research concepts?

It means learning from feminists and listening to women in new ways, and develop this on an independent basis, in dialogue with feminist and women researchers as well as with men.

This is not a matter of copying, but before going on, many male researchers today will have to learn more, and men’s studies itself needs to learn more about gender research and women’s studies. Due to ignorance, the wheel is often reinvented.

Developing theory means keeping an eye on the central issue of justice and equality between men and women, and an awareness of the greater social, historical context of present men's issues. Without feminism in the broad sense, the women's struggle from the 70s onwards especially, “men's studies” probably would not have appeared. Women made gender relevant, and next men were brought into it.  Without awareness on such issues, the new kinds of knowledge represented by studies of men will easily slip back into the ‘studies of men as normals’ kind of science.

Q How about practical development of research?

Many men supporting the idea of studies of men at first find themselves in a marginalized position. Like men breaking the gender segregation barrier in elsewhere in society, they are often seen as 'special' in negative senses. What they need to do, then, is rework this situation. Some men taking the equality-oriented position have managed to do so by identifying needs, patiently building relations and networking from that viewpoint. This is the way many male IASOM members seems to have started, not just by 'allying' with feminism but by holding on and learning, gradually shedding what was superficial about such a position.

Many women have begun by identifying potentials for equality among women and men around them, starting where the threshold is lowest, and build from there, gathering encouraging relations, those where others love them for what they are, and using less energy on the rest. Men are comparatively ignorant of this informal progress of social life, and gender-reactive processes among men are therefore also artificially prolonged and men's general learning possibilities reduced.

Q Why should women participate in men's studies?

Because men is the subject, not the gender of the researchers. Due to what IASOM is about; to basic consideration of democracy and knowledge.

Q So women should contribute in order to create better science?

Yes, also because high-quality research development generally often suffers when one gender is missing in the accumulation and analysis of experience. Yet “good science” is still utilitarian thinking, “product thinking”, and the cooperation between women and men goes beyond that. Feminists want a different science, not just an improved one. This difference has a variety of names and theories, with a main theme involving a ‘reproductionalization’ of social life, ‘rationality of care’, ‘relational orientation’.

Such elements (not ‘of women’, but ‘of a way to organize’), are often vital for researchers’ access to nuance, openness and ‘emotive cognition’ in regard to their subject and for their self-understanding and development in the research process.

Q How does equal relations support research development?

Pro-feminism means encouraging equal relations in the research field itself, which again is a key to its qualitative development.

If gender is a relation, it does not imply that specific studies of men or women is not needed (see below), but it does emphasise the need to create knowledge of the relation itself, of something which is not there unless women and men cooperate and discuss. As soon as it is ‘not there’, in this practical sense, research perspectives and theories probably more easily become abstracted and empty.

Cooperation between women and men should not be used as an argument against the need for depth, doing things on one’s own or in cooperation with others of one’s own gender, etc. Dialogue between the genders require other forms of dialogue. Here as elsewhere the general advantage of nonsegregated organisation can be seen on many points of the process. In gender questions as in other social issues, the dominated party has special emphasis in the debate, since it has immediate access to experience that the dominant only only perceive indirectly. This includes the burdens and activities that make up many ‘gender relations’. Often, therefore, women often keep men from becoming too negatively or positively idealist.

Pro-feminism therefore means focusing on activities as well as attitudes. What do men do, that help women make themselves more free, rather than less free? What can help such egalitarian activities, what are the barriers they meet?

Q What are the dangers of men's studies?

One danger is a reactive male takeover, the field becoming antifeminist. From a Scandinavian perspective at least, this does not look very likely. Some argue that men's studies should be monitored by feminists, yet it seems that 'dialogue' is more to the point.

Another danger is not recognizing the male framework which is already there. Men are not just an empty space in science. Before we can understand more of the new possibilities of men, we must gain more space for it, which means moving some of the old things out.

A third danger is a ‘political correctness’ that stifles research, perhaps based on an abstract wish to please women plus an unacknowledged guilt, perhaps on other effects of pressure.

Q Why not just one field, gender studies?

Because we need specialization here as elsewhere. Because this is a new main area of gender studies, which is rapidly expanding in terms of academic debate and research thought, if not so rapidly in terms of financing and support.

Q What is meant by terms like the “male norm” or “neutralized masculinity”?

We may think of it in terms of degree of equality. Consider two simple models, one with no no equality, the other with full equality.

In the model with no gender equality, men will be conceived of simply as the normal human beings. You don't have to say 'masculine', since it is the implicit standard anyway.

In the model with full equality, on the other hand, men and women would equally define what is normal and central in research and society as a whole.

Today we have an intermediate situation, 'partial equality'. Here, men are both normal or implicit in the old way - and becoming more visible in the new way, as men and as persons.

In order to understand this visible masculinity, research must also look at the other part, which is still there, questioning the normalcy and mapping the processes that translate 'male' into 'normal/powerful' and back. Studying only the visibly masculine paradoxically means studying a retarded and falsely isolated subject.

Q How are these perspectives connected to other social problems?

Patriarchal relations and male dominance are important parts of many power systems, even if mostly operative in the background. This is an important research area where most remains to be done. On the other hand, we do not know that gender is always the most basic issue, but we know that men's ability to practice gender equality is connected to equality in other areas.