<B>The IASOM Newsletter Vol 1  No 1 Nov 1993  </B><B></B>


The International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM) is an interdisciplinary organization for studies of men, open to female and male researchers who want to develop this field internationally. The IASOM platformis pro-feminist in the sense of supporting a gender-egalitarian society.

Organizations and individuals supporting the IASOM initiative

Newsletter guidelines and practices

You can contribute to the IASOM  Newsletter by

We want the Newsletter functions as a notepad for papers to men’s studies journals like masculinities and elsewhere. Not too long, please; a couple of pages is OK

A notepad means a place you can sketch and outline your ideas. The IASOM newsletter is a means of communication, not of evaluation. We especially welcome contributions that are global in perspective and address major theoretical and methodological issues.

To be printed, your submission must satisfy usual but relaxed research note and debate quality standards, not break with our platform (no sexism or racism, etc), AND be forwarded in readable diskette format.

We may have a small BBS or similar system in the future, where you can just call in (if you have a modem) and upload your texts. But for the present, follow these guidelines:

1. Use a 3 1/2 inch (small) diskette, alternatively a 5 1/2 inch diskette.

2. Save your text as plain DOS text if possible  (pure ASCII). Or else save it as WordPerferct, Amipro, Word, or Windows Write text. Keep text formatting to a minimum. If you are using a Mac, try getting your diskette formated on a DOS machine and the text converted to plain DOS (Ascii) format. If not, send it anyway, and we’ll see what we can do about it.

3. Check that the diskette files are OK. (One in five or ten diskettes bouts arrive in a bad state).

4. Enclose a paper copy of your text(s) with the diskette.

The IASOM Newsletter

c/o Oystein G. Holter

The Work Research Institute

POB. 8171 Dep. 0034

Oslo Norway

Fax (47) 22-56-89-18

Knut Oftung


POB 8036 Dep.

0030 Oslo Norway

Tel. (47)22-34-25-64

Fax (47) 34 95 21

Søren Carlsen

Tordenskjoldsgd 27, København

Tel. (45) 33 92 33 11

Fax 4533913115

Lars Jalmert

Department of Education

Stockholm University

Frescati Hagvag 24

S-10691 Stockholm

Tel (46) 8163975

Fax 468158354

The International Association For Studies Of Men (IASOM)

- an organization for pro-feminist studies of men and masculinities

We are proud to announce the creation of The International Association For Studies Of Men (IASOM), an organization for promotion of international cooperation in the field of pro-feminist men’s studies.

The decision to create an international organization was made at the 18th. annual conference on men and masculinities in San Fransisco in July this year. The conference was arranged by NOMAS (National Organization of Men Against Sexism), and the decision to create IASOM was made on the annual meeting of the Men’s Studies Association (MSA, a part of NOMAS), with visitors from several other countries.

The task of coordinating the creation of IASOM, publishing a newsletter, and preparing an international men’s studies conference, was given to The Norwegian Network for Studies of Men (NNSM) for the first two years, with the general idea that the national organizations who are members of IASOM should take this coordination task in turn.

You are invited to join in the creation of an international association, and not into something which has allready been decided and finished in any detail. National conditions and research situations vary, as do the perspectives of different researchers. We need your opinions and advice in order to create an association that can be of real help to us all. We need to work together.


Over the last years, a men’s studies or studies of men field has emerged in the social sciences and humanities in many countries. The field has different names in different countries (“feminist studies of men”, “critical studies of men”, etc.) but men’s studies and studies of men are probably the best known terms. The field is still small, yet it is gaining importance. It has grown due to a more general acceptance that we know too little about men as men or masculine beings, and as a reaction against the neutralizing treatment of men in much conventional research. It has also grown due to a gradually increased awareness, among male researchers, that feminist perspectives and women’s research can no longer be ignored.

Research in the humanities and social sciences field need an understanding both of men as gendered beings, and of men as members of the dominant gender. Questions of gender and power are tied together, and in most of the studies within the new field, these questions are of basic importance. The emergence of this new field is evident in the growth of men’s studies as a subject both for research and for teaching.

Fifteen years ago papers or books focusing on ‘masculinity’ or ‘patriarchy’ were rare. Today there are books or papers published, it seems, weekly or even daily. There are seminars and courses, critical studies of men and masculinities, studies of men and patriarchy, networks focusing on research on men, feminist studies of men, and other forms of activity. The interdisciplinary aspect has emerged as one important trait of the new field. We are seeing cooperation between humanities and social sciences researchers as well as between therapists or social workers and researchers.

On the international level, no men’s studies organization yet exists. We may perhaps distinguish three main “stages” of organization of the field in each country. At first, one or more informal networks are created, often clustered around a few people who are actively advocating this new approach and have succeeded getting things published. Secondly, the informal network(s) become more formally organized.

The third – potential – stage is an international organization of the type we are proposing here. In Scandinavia, for example, the situation has definitively improved over the last couple of years. The Norwegian Network for studies of men was started in 1989 as an offshot of a government initiative (The Male Role Committee). Since 1989 the network has arranged numerous seminars, several larger conferences, published a newsletter, and been active in many other ways (it has approximately 50 more or less active members). Recently a similar network has been started in Denmark. There are activities in Sweden also.

The list of countries where we know of similar organizations, groups or research contacts include Australia, Austria, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Germany, UK, New Zealand and the US. This newsletter is being sent to all of these. We believe the time for an international association has come, but we need your cooperation if this goal is to be achieved.

Why is IASOM needed?

The studies of men or men’s studies field still is in the periphery of the social sciences and humanities, and it still often appears fragmented and isolated. Researchers in one country may not know about others doing the same kind of research in other countries; there are yet no international journals, and publications – especially those not in English – may be unknown to others. As a result, the field in each country is less well able to develop than could have been the case. An international organization may improve this situation in several ways.

We don’t agree with the idea of men’s studies as a marginal area, and together we may be able to improve situation of our field. An international newsletter and communications list will help us in our work. International conferences may be arranged through an international organization. The same is the case with more truly international publications.

The establishment of IASOM means that there will be a permanent forum for international cooperation in the field. Researchers will have a better basis for cross-cultural studies, international comparisons and discussions, and theoretical and methodological development.

The association is not only of interest to researchers planning cross-cultural studies. It can also be important on the national level. With better international communication, we may be able to learn from each other and improve our own national strategies for developing the field.

The IASOM also may contribute to better possibilities for research funding. For many people in the field this is an important question. If there is an international aspect to a project, perhaps also with some international funding, national research authorities will often be more positive when asked to contribute. In the Nordic countries, for example, the Nordic Council of Ministers supports social research, and projects involving the member countries, recieving support from the Council, will have a much better chance of getting national funding. The situation is similar, we believe, in many other countries, for example in the EC.

Through such measures, IASOM may enhance the critical, theoretical and methodological depth and quality of the men’s studies field as a whole. The informal aspects of “network building” is also important, since many researchers in our field face difficulties trying to do research in an area which often is seen as unimportant, troublesome, suspect, etc. Our mutual support and the feeling that we do have an international movement appreciating what we are trying to do, are important in our day-to-day efforts.

IASOM platform and organizational guidelines

Below, we present the preliminary IASOM platform and organizational rules. These will be in force in 1995-96, and a revised version will be presented for voting before the end of that period.

We want an association that functions as democratically as possible, but we also have to recognize the difficulties of international communication. Therefore, much of our contact will have to be by mail, fax or phone. There are several plans for international meetings under way (see below), but the arrangers of these won’t be able to pay for more than a minority of members’ travel costs. Therefore our voting system is by mail/fax.

The question of the relationship between men’s studies and feminist theory and research was discussed in particular at the Men’s Studies Association meeting (at the Men and Masculinities conference) in San Fransisco in July.

In the discussion, there was a general agreement that the international organization should have a pro-feminist profile which should be clear and visible to all, possibly in the name of the association. Allthough we welcome diversity, multiple views etc. as vitally important for the development of our field, we do not want our organization to be associated with a “male reaction” against feminism.

The coordinating committe proposes the following preliminary platform and organizational rules for the first period.


(1) The goal of The International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM) is to promote international cooperation and development of studies of men, based on pro-feminist, gay-affirmative and anti-racist principles, and  to enhance the critical depth, variety and methodological and theoretical development of this field.

(2) The association welcomes as members national organizations, groups and individuals who are active in the field and agree with the association’s platform. IASOM welcomes women as well as men. The association primarily is directed towards scholars and researchers in the social science and humanities fields, therapeuts, and within limits it is also open to graduate students and others who work with men’s studies questions or related issues.

Organizational guidelines

(1) The Norwegian Network for Studies of Men, in cooperation with the The Nordic Studies of Men Coordination Group, has been given the primary responsibility of building the association, extending the contacts network, and creating organizational procedures in the first period for two years. In this period, the IASOM will be led by a coordination group representing the Norwegian and other Nordic networks and research communities in the field.

(2) The IASOM coordination group should consist of members who best represent the association’s membership and work for its aims. After the first period, not later than the end of 1996, a new coordination group will be elected by the organization members.

(3) Organizational issues shall be decided democratically primarily through open discussions in the newsletter and other fora, and if necessary through fax/mail voting.

(4) The coordination group prepares and distributes at least two annual newsletter issues to members. Members should participate in debates and help make their views known through the newsletter. All issues that needs voting must be presented for members through the newsletter. The coordination group must arrange a vote if a substantial minority of members wants it.

(5) Voting is based on individual membership. Democratic processes in the organization however should seek a balance based on  member organizations and various countries’ and regions’ rights, as well as the rights of individual members, and the voting system may be revised for this purpose.

(6) The IASOM majority should seek to avoid any measure that would seriously harm the work in one or a minority of membership countries. Members must respect national and cultural differences on an egalitarian basis and observe the foundation principles in organizational matters, and especially help create IASOM contacts in the third world.

(7) Where there are several national or regional networks or organizations within the studies of men field or the men’s studies field, IASOM welcomes all who support our platform. National differences and controversies may be presented in IASOM fora but should mainly be solved on the national level.

(8) IASOM primarily has an advisory role related to member organizations and individuals, and cannot demand that they follow the association’s view in any specific matter. In exceptional instances, where the member organization or individual clearly breaks with the association platform, the membership can be withdrawn. If there is any disagreement, such decisions must be affirmed through voting. Also, the association can take action where there is a clear break with academic standards (fraud, etc.).

(9) The IASOM coordination group has the right to decide an annual membership fee for the first period, in order to cover newsletter and regular communication expenses. The organisation’s elected bodies work for free, but can have their travel expenses covered within strict limits. The practical organizational work primarily should be financed through national or international research funding, and only from members’ pockets if absolutely necessary.

(10) These guidelines are to be revised and voted on no later than the end of 1996.

The IASOM Newsletter

is published by the Nordic Studies of Men Coordination Group on behalf of the International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM)


Øystein Gullvåg Holter, a sociologist employed as researcher II at The Work Research Institute, Oslo, representing the Norwegian Network for Studies of Men

Editorial group

Knut Oftung, a sociologist employed at The Equal Status Council (Norway)

Jorgen Lorenzen, a stipendiate at the Institute for Comparative Literature at the University of Oslo, representing The Norwegian Network and the White Ribbon Campaign

Soeren Carlsen, sociologist, principal at The Danish Equal Status Council, Copenhagen

Rudi Rusfort, student mag art at the Roskilde University Centre., coordinator of the Danish Network for Men’s Studies

Lars Jalmert, psychologist, associate professor at the Department of Education at Stocholm University, representing men’s studies in Sweden

What you should do

If you already know you want to join the IASOM, do the following:

1. There is a questionnaire enclosed with this first issue of the IASOM newsletter (last page). Please fill it out. Check the “want to become a member” box. Return it through mail or fax.

2. We also very much would like to hear directly from you on  other matters. Especially, we need short presentations of yourself, your work, and the research situation in your country or region.

The name debate

At the San Fransisco Men and Masculinities conference in July, the proposed title for the international organization was The International Men’s Studies Association. At that time, however, there wasn’t room for much discussion about the name and guidelines of the organization. A preliminary edition of the letter of invitation was mailed to a number of international contacts in September 93. The response was very good, generating a debate primarily over the name of the organization.

The name question soon turned into a discussion about what kind of international association is needed. Especially the term “men’s studies” has been the focus of the debate. As long as we don’t let disagreements split up our efforts, this is a positive development,  showing the importance of debate over basics in a comparatively new field.

The names proposed so far are:

    The International Men’s Studies Association (IMSA) (original Norwegian proposal)

    The International Network for Studies of Men (INSOM) (Jeff Hearn)

    The International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM) (compromise proposal)

    The International Association for Critical Men’s Studies (IACMS) (Stefan Beier and Willibald Walter)

The procedure in case of the name debate will follow the organizational guidelines presented above. The clause about a majority not overriding a minority is relevant here. A large minority, perhaps a majority, supports IASOM. Most of these also feel that the original proposal, using “men’s studies” in the name, would harm the association in their countries. On the other hand, few or none of those supporting the other proposals feel IASOM would be harmful in their national contexts. Most of them think IASOM is OK, only IMSA would be better.

Therefore the coordination group has decided in favour of IASOM for now. However the name debate will be continued, and if there are still significant disagreements, we will arrange a vote. Incoming proposals will be presented in the newsletter and as alternatives in an eventual vote.

The UK and German proposals have not gained the same amount of support as the two others, but the German has not been seen by many.

Most participants we have contacted have agreed with the Nordic group that  “association” may be better than “network”, signifying a more organised commitment. Also, “network” is getting over-used these days.  “Critical men’s studies”, “critical studies of men” etc. are often felt as uneccessary wordings – aren’t these studies critical anyway, how many adjectives should we add. Also, the abbreviation should sound OK and avoid curious associations like INSOM to insomnia.

From the debate

From Jeff Hearn, UK:

Along with a revised version of the invitation letter, arguing for  INSOM (The International Network for Studies of Men) instead of IMSA, Hearn wrote:

“Some of the most important work on men is being done by women outside “men’s studies”. It is vital not to exclude them/this. INSOM also parallels the Norwegian Network!”

From Michael Kimmel, US:

“I think the problem is not inherent in the name (“men’s studies”), and that you in Scandinavia have different associations than we in the Anglo countries. But for us the question is not about preferences; it is a matter of some urgency and seriousness. I therefore don’t think that the question of numerical majority of our members is a good guage on this. I know those I’ve talked with feel the matter is very significant.

“Men’s Studies” is not seen here as a parallel, complementary program, inspired by a feminist vision of gender as power relations. It is seen as a reactionary idea, a reaction against feminism. It is seen, by our feminist women allies and by the public at large the way “white studies” would be seen by advocates of Black Studies – a racist political agenda. In the States, Men’s Studies seem to try to push women back, taking back the spotlight from them, and, in the process, denying the power dynamics that we – pro-feminists – see as constituting gender relations. In fact, “men’s studies” is seen as a plea for victim status. “We men are oppressed too!”

My feeling is we need to distance ourselves as much as possible from that. I would be most favourable to an International Network (or Association) for Feminist Studies of Men or some such, to make it unmistakably clear what our politics are (and to make it clear that we follow in a venerable tradition of feminist critiques, and that we also welcome women).

We must, in our name, distance ourselves from the reaction against feminisms, which here is quite virulent. I do not think an explanatory paragraph would help here, actually, since people would still hear the name and make the associations, and would not ordinarily read the paragraph. (..) What is of concern here is the possibility of delegitimation before we even begin, at least in the eyes of Anglo audiences.”

From Rex McCann, New Zealand:

“A quick response like you required: IMSA sounds fine here in New Zealand. Great initiative. I look forward to a copy of the Newsletter.”

From Bob Brannon, US:

“Although I felt OK about the “Men’s Studies/IMSA” name that we chose in San Fransisco, I am also very comfortable with Jeff Hearn’s suggestion of International Network for Studies of Men or INSOM. His alternative does avoid the vague-but-possible and unfortunate “masculinist” political connotations of “Men’s Studies” that you and I discussed. I myself do not experience this connotation, especially, but if others do, then it’s well to avoid it. (..) There are also interesting aspects of the question of men as “feminists” vs “pro-feminists”. Many individuals, including myself, prefer to call ourselves feminists. (I always do.) Still, for tactical and common-denominator kinds of reasons, I usually describe our larger anti-sexist men’s movement as pro-feminist. It has been my experience that no one usually objects to this, whereas, some men and some women do resist ever calling men feminists. So the usual course is to choose words that everyone will accept.

Generally, pro-(x) suggests to me someone who is sympathetic and positive towards (x), but not directly involved with it. That probably describe the involvment of many men in our movement with feminism. But, there are some of us who are deeply involved, both with specific feminist issues, and even with internal feminist politics. For us the word feminist is a proud badge of self-identity.

So I certainly agree that the network should invite men who consider themselves feminists as well as pro-feminists. But on any one particular document, I don’t think I would go out of my way to use both words.”

From Georg Brzoska, Germany:

“To make it a quick response. I prefer IASOM. Thanks for your letter!”

Nordic coordination group meeting

In a first meeting of the Nordic coordination group in early October, there was an agreement that IMSA was the best proposal, but that IASOM should be adopted unless those who were opposed to IMSA changed their view. This group consists of Rudi Rusfort and Søren Carlsen, Denmark; Lars Jalmert, Sweeden, and Knut Oftung and Øystein Gullvåg Holter, Norway. In mid-october, a new letter was sent to Kimmel and Hearn arguing for the IMSA name and presenting the results of the meeting. If Kimmel and Hearn did not communicate a change of view in the US and UK, the name would be IASOM even if the coordination group was less happy with that.

From Øystein Gullvåg Holter to Jeff Hearn and Micael Kimmel:

“Everyone present (at the Nordic meeting) agreed the international organization should be named as was originally proposed  - The International Men’s Studies Association.  

The main arguments for this view was:

(1) that men’s studies is the commonly used name,

(2) we don’t want to give it to someone non-feminist,

(3) people who think the organization is crypto-masculinist or whatever should be able to read our founding paragraph etc, and

(4) some people will be sceptical whatever the name.

Also, the majority of people from various countries who have answered my preliminary letter has been in favour of IMSA.

We will not, however, override a minority that feels very strongly about the name being negative in their contexts. This means we’ll go for the next-best alternative, The International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM), if you do not agree with our proposal. However we urge you to reconsider, because we think the strategy of dropping the men’s studies name because someone might have negative associations to it, is unsound. Whatever we do, the name can be changed later, especially when we meet and have some time to discuss it. AND of course the main thing is the organization not the name.”

From Michael Kimmel:

“I apologize for not being in touch sooner, I have been completely swamped lately. I was in Texas, delivering my critique of the mythopoetics to their conference, where I also debated with Warren Farrell (...) I have polled the other US/Canadians and there is still strong support from IASOM. This is something we can continue to discuss at some later date.

Thanks for keeping us going on this. It is great to know you are all working on setting up this international group.”

From Michael Kaufman, Canada:

“It was really nice to hear things are going ahead with the International Association and especially that you folks are taking it on. (..) I do prefer IASOM. There is such a pile of stupid stuff about men these days in North America – including various new men’s columns in newspapers and men’s magazines – that I have to agree with those who say the IMSA name might conjur up impressions that we’re either jumping on the bandwagon or we’re some anti-feminist group. (..)

Things are very hectic this year with the White Ribbon Campaign. My book, Cracking the Armour: Power, Pain and the Lives of Men was published this past spring by Viking Canada and has done pretty well, even though, unfortunately, it isn’t yet published in the US. It’ll be coming out in paperback in the spring.”

From Stefan Beier and Willibald Walter, Germany:

“We are interested to learn more about “The International Men’s Studies Association”. For the time being Willi is the coordinator of the (Critical) Men’s Studies Task Group (“Arbeitskreis Kritische Männerforschung”) which is part of the future German Men’s Network. We’d like to ask you to include us in your mailing list. (...)

We also want to take position concerning the name problem. Of course you can pass on our comment to the participants in the discussion. We are strongly in favour of the title “The International Men’s Study AssociationA (IMSA). To be honest, we are rather annoyed about the intervention of Jeff Hearn and Michael Kimmel. It looks like trying to be the “good boys” if we don’t dare to use an expression just because it might create negative associations. We agree with the Scandinavians that “Men’s Studies” is the established name. This is true also for Germany.

Why should we allow anti-feminists to steal our language? Why should we leave the power of defining to them, the media or a certain public? Whoever is interested in our work will look beyond our name. Apart from this, we are quite struck by the unhidden Anglo-American-centrism in Kimmel’s and Hearn’s argument. It sounds as if, to them, the rest of the world is rather irrelevant. If we want to initiate an international organization, we should choose a name which suits most of the potential members in various countries.

For those reasons we suggest a compromise. The name “The International Association for Critical Men’s Studies” (IACMS) would provide a possibility to make our position clearer. This way we could acknowledge concerns and objections in the Anglo-American countries without giving up the internationally more established name. We hope this is a proposal most members feel comfortable with. We are looking forward to hearing from you.”

The debate continues (see p. 11). If you have proposals, please use the guidelines on page 2.

[For some reason, Harry Brod’s comments to this debate - supporting the IASOM alternative - have got lost. I am sorry! Please mail them once more, Harry, or write a new comment on the current debate. ØGH]

Jeff Hearn: Critical Studies on Men - Past, Present, Future

Critical studies of men are not now, neither have they been promoted by men more than women. In 1913 Christabel Pankhurst, the suffragette campaigner, wrote ‘What a  man ... really wants is that women are created primarily for sex gratification of men and secondary for the bearing of children if he happens to want them’ (1913, pp 19-20). More recently, my colleague ut Bradford University, Jalnna Hanmer (1990) ) has pointed out that second wave feminism in the 1960’s and 70’s produced many books and pamphlets that set out a critique of men. Those are critical studies on men that are often neglected by men writing and researching on men.

What is relatively new to the 80’s and 90’s however, is the establishing of a range of research, writing and related research debates that focus self- consciously on men as the main object of attention and critique. This activity includes feminist research and writing on men, gay studies, and a variety of pro- feminist responses by men to feminism. Thus we now have a set of debates and controversies that are both clearly focussed, and diverse and fragmented with different points of reference, different politics and different constituencies. This is what I call Critical Studies on Men.

In the UK these studies have been conducted mainly in and around universities and other institutions of higher education. They have also involved work by women and men in practical, professional and political  interventions, for example, work with men who have been violent to women and related analyses of men’s violence (e.g. Jakes, 1993). They have included under-graduate and postgraduate teaching, doctoral research, research groups, and publishers series. There have also been a variety of conferences. In 1988 the British Sociological Association Sociological Theory Group organized a confererence at Bradford university, the papers from which were published as Men, Masculinities and Social Theory (Hearn and Morgan, 1990). A more specialised conference was organized on masculinity under the auspices of the 5th Leicester Annual Film and Television Studies Summer School in 1990. The papers from that conference were published as You Tarzan - Masculinities, Movies and Men (Kirkham and Thumin, 1993).

At Bradford University, where I work, there are courses on ‘Men and Masculinities’ on both MA in Social and Community Work Studies and MA Women’s Studies (Applied); a researc group on Critical Studies on men; and ongoing research projects on men’s violence to known women, and men and pornography. Researchers are also investiliating men in social work; male nurses; men and management. All of this involves women and men, working with the broad context of Women’s Studies and Women’s Studies research. There is a lot to be done!  

So for these and other reasons I welcome IASOM and the IASOM newsletter. I see it as a neccesary development  in creating a more critical analysis of men, and a more critical intervention to change men. In particular, understanding men’s power not lust locally and nationally, but also internationally and globally, is essential in today’s world. Global change, not least through international finance, militarism, multinationals and inter-governmental links, is one of the most important ways in which men’s power is being extended and institutionalised. To understand and to analyse this involves global/international research. Finally, and on a practical note, I think the time has come for book collecting together of international contributions on men. And so I would be very interested in cooperating in the production of such a book on either men in different countries or critical studies on men in different countries.


Jalna Hanmer (1990) Men, power and the exploitation of  women’ in Jeff Hearn and David Morgan (eds) Men, Masculinities and Social Theory, London: Unwin  Hyman,  pp 21-42

Jeff Hearn and David Morgan (eds) Men, Masculinities and Social Theory. London: Unwin Hyman

Adam Jukes (1993): Why Men Hate Women, London: Free Association books

Pat Kirkham and Janet Thumin  (eds) You Tarzan. Masculinity, Movies and Men. London: Lawrence  &  Wishart

Christabel Pankhurst (1913) The Hidden Scourge and How to End It, London; E. Pankhurst

Jeff Hearn  

Applied Social Studies

University of Bradford  

Bradford BD7 1DP, UK  

Tel. 0274 583516/02  

Fax  0274 305340

Research news

A new type of women?

According to Monica Rudberg and Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen, both well-known researchers within Norwegian women’s studies, “a new kind of young women” can be observed in the schools. “These are girls who take the classroom into their territory. Who do not need confirmations from girlfriends in order to speak up and who can praise themselves without blushing”. Approximately two thirds of the 17-18-year old girls studied by the researchers through observation and interviews followed a more traditional feminine pattern, a third this new pattern. “There is the potential of a split. The other girls won’t always allow that a third are so self-assertive. But the girls within this category believe they are fully entitled to be the way they are.”

Even if assertive, Rudberg describes the new type of girls as “gender-fixed”, but also more experimental with gender. “They are afraid of being (sex) objects. (..) They look at themselves not just through the eyes of men, but through their own also. The problem however is this look can be even more demanding than the man’s.” (Monica Rudberg interviewed in Ny Tid 29. 10.93 p. 8). Even if the study focuses on women, the researchers describe a similar new tendency among approximately a third of the young men also. These “adopt the techniques of the girls”. The picture we get, is one of female change – and male response to change.

What is the Good Man’s idea of being “non-sexist?”

Martin Acker, Emeritus Professor at the University of Oregon, is doing a study on the cluster of meanings and practices connected to the sexism-nonsexism dimension. “’Good men’”, he writes, “invoke the term ‘sexism’ often as an epithet, a mantra, an explanation that pre-empts further analysis or examination.”

The project, using in-depth interviews, is under way in the US; Acker wants international cooperation and possibly extensions. If you are interested, contact him – fax 503-346-5818 (phone 5501), or letter to 1310 Barber Drive, Eugene, Oregon 97405.

Journal on the way

According to Michael Kimmel, there is now a contract offer from Guilford for the journal, masculinities. Sage is deciding if they can match the offer. So, Kimmel writes, the journal will definitely be published in its next volume by either of them. This is great news for the MSA and for IASOM also. The Newsletter will return with more information as soon as possible. We hope the journal will contribute to raising standards in the field and that the international aspect will be reflected in the editorial policy.

American manhood

From Michael Kimmel:

“I am involved in writing a book – Manhood: The American Quest – which will be a history of masculinities in America. Specifically, I am looking at the impact of the marketplace on the development of chronic insecurity and anxiety among men; how masculinity is a homosocial enactment, never fully proved, always open to contention and challenge – a relentless test. I trace the ways in which American racism, sexism, nativism and heterosexism have flowed from this chronic insecurity about masculinity. I also explore the ways in which American men have always run away to find their manhood (and tried to escape adult responsibilities) – off to the woods, from Rip van Winkle to Thoreau to Bly and his weekend warriors.”

Great start for the Danish Network

The Danish Network for Men’s Studies defines men’s studies as “gender critical research with a focus on men”. The network has three main aims: – contribute to the development of the masculine aspect of gender research – create international contacts in the field – actively work for better resource allocation to this field in Denmark’s education and research system.

The Network arranged a startup conference titled “Why Men’s Studies?” at the Roskilde Universitetscenter 6th of October 1993, which included a speech from the University’s rector welcoming the new research field, talks by men and women researchers on the necessity of focusing on men, and talks from men’s researchers from other Nordic countries. Among the speakers, one may mention social anthropologist Margrethe Silberstein who showed how a masculinity perspective is a vital component in third world research - examplified through her extensive field work in Kenya.

The conference was a very successful event with 200 people attending and a considerable media coverage. It was very professionally arranged in cooperation with the women’s studies centre at the university.

The Danish Network is coordinated by stud. mag. art. Rudi Rusfort, and includes lektor Hans Bonde, Ph. D., sociologist Søren Carlsen, dr. Henrik Vittrupp, and others. Many of the people interested in working actively for the Network has been higher-level students.

You can contact the Network by writing to :

Dansk Netværk for Mandeforskning

c/o Institut V, hus 03.2.1

Roskilde Universitetscenter

Postboks 260

4000 Roskilde, Denmark

Fax: 45-75-54-90

Phone: 45-75-77-11

Further questions in the name debate

Can “men’s” be a positive concept, or does it mean “patriarchy’s”? What is empowering in the first sense but not in the second?

What is the greatest danger in our field - a reaction against feminism or a lack of independence?

What is the difference between “always being critically aware that one is a man” and being sexist - ie. attributing social characteristics to physical properties (anatomy = destiny)?

Do we use patriarchy theories as a means of hiding men’s responsibility?

On the other hand, when we claim full responsibility, and make men collectively responsible for the patriarchal state of society, what is the gender framework of our argument? How come the man, always number one, is now also the main number one person in this respect, “man” once more representing the doer, the agent of deliberate activity, “woman” the one to whom something is done?

The name debate concerns a very important principle, aside from different evaluations of the situation in different countries:  - whether the male genitive and the idea of masculine possession is OK or not OK. Therefore it points right to a central matter of the theory development of the field, the ability to sift between wheat and chaff, to understand more of the relationship between men and their life experiences on the one hand, and masculinities and societal dominance (class, patriarchy etc.) on the other. We hope readers and participants will contribute to a second round in the name debate, widening the theoretical perspective.  

New Zealand menswork

In October, RexMcCann and other New Zealand men’s groups’ activists arranged the conference “Fire within – fire without, a menswork leadership gathering”. The conference was a follow-up from last years conference “Lightning the fire”, where 40 men from different parts of NZ and a diversity of mens work participated.

The conference was aimed towards gathering experience from social action work, personal transformation and stopping violence initiatives, with discussions of positive masculinity, community building and support and accountability, “the burden of being politically correct”, and other issues. The gathering was held at the Tauhara Centre, a retreat overlooking lake Taupo.

(This sure sounds nice. From a Norwegian grey and cold November I can only add I wish I’d been there. ØGH)

And in Noway ...

The first White Ribbon Campaign in Norway was held 13. and 14. november. 14. november is the Fathers Day in Norway, and we chose this day to focus on men’s violence towards women at home - because one of our main goals is to produce proud fathers and lovers.

The campaign was very succesful, and we have to thanks the Canadians for a wonderful idea, an idea which is a great chance for men all around the world to organize and show their opinion about violence against women.

...the White Ribbon Campaign

The campaign in Norway had the same goals and focus as the Canadian campaign, actually we justed a lot of the material we got from Michael Kaufman. We just had to translate it. We underlined the international perspective of the campaign, and we will suggest to others who wants to start up to focus on the international level of the campaign. Actually we where only a handful men starting this, but the words spread quickly, and a lot of men have written us by now. So, next year we will be much better prepared all our the country.

This year we had leafleting in downdown in the three main cities in Norway - Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. We gave away 5000 cards and ribbons to bypassers - and the response was 99 percent positive. Both radio and newspapers gave us a lot of space - includes several pages in the larges papers in Norway. We got support from the Norwegian Trade Union, The Gender Equal Status Council and the Department of Children and Family.

We have started a debate, which I think will grow among men in the years to come. We will make a scrapbook from this year’s action and a handbook of arguments and facts about mens violence against wome. This handbook will be sent to all the men who has contacted us.

Next year we will work more on forming local groups in the Norwegian cities, contact churches (priests) directly and ask them to focus on mens violence against women in their preaches on this specific sunday, and we will give more attention to Norwegian television (they didn’t give us any time or space this year). We will also try to get the other Nordic countries involved in the White Ribbon Campaign.  

Jørgen Lorentzen

Inst. For Nordistikk og Litteraturvitenskap

Pb 1013 Blindern 0315 Oslo

Tlf: 47-22-85 76 38

Fax: 47-22-85 71 00

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

An international study of men?

‘The “authoritarian personality” revisited

Over the last year or so, I have been in contact with several other IASOM members about the possibilities for creating an international project around the question of “what happened with the authoritarian personality”. For those who do not know, the early postwar “authoritarian personality” study was the main result of Frankfurter school emigration to the US, led by Theodor Adorno, with subprojects in a number of countries, like Norway, that were important for the development of the social science community in those countries.

The theoretical basis for the authoritarian personality study was highly relevant for that period, just after the fall of nazism as a state power. “Authoritarian” may not be the clearest of words, but it was clear enough to be worked with and even measured fairly well.

Yet, how should a remake of that study look? How does authoritarian relationships appear today? Certainly we should feel free to change some of the focus and framework of the original study; anything else would taste of “authoritarian stasis”.

In simple terms, what Adorno and colleagues tried was to pinpoint the dangerous tendencies – not just among those in power, but among ordinary people; tendencies that could create renewed support for nazi or fascist politics. It was primarily a men’s study in the sense of finding and focusing on authoritarianism among men especially, even if the gender perspective wasn’t very clear.

Authoritarian self-control

One major reworking of the “authoritarian” idea appeared in Marcuse’s Prepressive desublimationA thesis of the mid sixties. Here the authoritarian master is brought into the market, so to speak; the authoritarian relationship is mediated through a process of seeming emancipation. Several people, like Thomas Ziehe, have extended this idea. I myself have done so also in many of my works. In my  recent book Men’s Life Patterns (in Norwegian), co-written with Helene Aarseth, I discuss “repressive devalorization” which is a kind of desublimation located primarily not in a Freudian scheme but in the economic aspects of interpersonal relations. This is discussed in a framework of patriarchy moving from a “masculinate” phase to an “androgynate” phase, which in turn is seen as part of a movement from industrial to postindustrial economic relations and new forms of capital.

The Yap, the neo-liberalist of the mid eighties, seemed to signal a new and more market-oriented personality. According to Norwegian studies, the neo-liberal political shift in this period was very much a gender-and-age phenomen, a shift with a larger than usual dose of “feeling” along with more traditional political considerations.

Neo-liberals from divorced families

The Norwegian representative survey of men in 1988 (N=614) gave some intriguing results at this point. It showed that among the men supporting the neo-liberal rightwing party (the Progress Party), about 25 percent had experienced divorce in childhood, as against 10 percent among men in general. Of the 9 percent of men who had experienced divorce during their childhoods, more than half supported the Progress Party, a party at that time scoring approximately 15 percent at the opinion polls (see my book Menn p. 62ff.)

This was a highly dramatic (and fully significant) result, which may have been echoed elsewhere. There is supposed to be a recent German study in the same direction, but I have not managed to find it.

In the Norwegian case, these right-wing, mostly young men with divorce backgrounds were clearly more anti-feminist than normal, and probably also somewhat more feminine in their gender identity, even if this latter interpretation of the results rests on less solid ground. At the same time, they were less critical of their fathers than usual.

The Norwegian results led to a “rediscovery” on my part both of Horkheimers 1930ies thesis – father absence creates a background for authoritarianism and political demagogy – and later work (for example the pioneer work by Erik Grønseth and Per Olaf Tiller in Norway) on idealized father images among more-feminine boys disguising their wounds behind hyper-masculinity.

“Liberalist authoritarians”

So one way to start might be a discussion about the ‘liberal authoritarianist’. Yet after the Yap phenomenon started to wane, at least in Scandinavia – Norway was early in that international turning – so much “solid” (and moralistic) was said against neo-liberalism that one might perhaps better just replicate the old Adorno setup. Good old “authoritarianism” is alive and well also, sometimes as an answer to liberalism. Social democracy as well as neoliberalism has contributed to enlarged class differences and a rising tide of unemployed. It is perhaps a bit too easy, at least in the Norwegian and Scandinavian contexts, to be “against” individualism, since it so “obviously” must turn into egoism. Yes, it does, presupposing an authoritarian viewpoint, an idea that the goal of the “individualism” involved isn’t freedom, but just a new sphere of authoritarianism or one-sided dominance.

Dangerous tendencies

This situation probably is different in different countries, regions, etc. If we use a mixture of feminist and critical theory, what would be the main point on the research agenda as regards men at the start of a new millenium? What are the really dangerous tendencies to look out for; what is happening that is healing the wounds; what can we do to reconnect men in better ways; what should “menswork” be about?

A large cooperative project

I am sure such questions are important to many of you, and I hope those with any possibility and interest in participating in an international follow-up of the Authoritarian Personality should participate in this discussion and write their ideas. As I see it, a five to ten countries international project with both qualitative and quantitative components, involving social science as well as humanities researchers and therapeuts, would be an important step forward for men’s studies. Personally I would be interested in participating in such a project from 1995 or 96.

In view of the wideness and potential general importance of the issues involved, the project should be based on cooperation both with women’s studies and researchers from other fields. The local projects should be developed according to context, contributing to a loose yet distinct whole which includes studies focused on personality/psychology, social psychology, sociology, culture, economy, politics, history, etc. For this to work, a common historical and structural framework has to be worked out, which once more must both be fairly broad and fairly distinct and coherent.

A new set of questions

In other words, do we start from a democratic versus authoritarian personality in the mid-century, moving towards a more liberalist or cooptive form of authority? Was this movement connected to specific masculinity forms? Feminity forms? Was it a change brought about – for example on the social psychological level – primarily by men? Or, in less visible forms perhaps, by women also, or mostly? What were the “tacit knowledge” and “silent cooperation” within and between the genders conncted to these tendencies? And – as a contrast – what is specific about the new more or less “hegemonic” form (forms?) of masculinity? Are they just more commercial, more liberal, more market-oriented? Or is that a too simplified view – a kind of “critical theory conventionalism” in which “before” means “less market, more direct authority”, while “now” means “more market, less direct authority”? What are the questions we are looking for, the questions that might help generate  a major international project?

So far, Bob Pease (Australia) and Michael Kimmel (US) has expressed interest in participating in an international study of the type proposed here, provided we manage to develop a common conceptual framework. We want more researchers to join the discussion.


New studies – old methods?

The new men’s studies or studies of men field is not just a matter of content, or of a new area of doing research. For most of the researchers working in the field, the study of men also involves new ideas about research and organizing research also.

These ideas or frameworks include new methodological approaches and alternative interrelationships between research, politics and personal change. What is attempted is a more open and honest approach to “the personal”; a research environment that is more supportive and less careerist and competitive; new directions for research in which personal and professional change and activity go together.

Many of these ideas are new and have not been fully worked out. The men’s studies field so far has little in the way of ‘methodological philosophies’, although in some countries general methodological statements exist.

In Norway, for example, the Network for Studies of Men has published a theoretical document (The Dangerous Gender – so far only in Norwegian) which calls for a “tendency methodology”, a methodology of studying the interaction between patriarchal and other structural tendencies, and men’s life patterns. The methodological efforts that characterises men’s studies are described as extended anti-positivism - “non-productionist” versions of the antipositivist and critical frameworks.

The methodological issues are wide-ranging, and there are probably many different viewpoints within our field. Some men’s studies have more or less kept to traditional academic standards, while some try to change them also.

As regards IASOM, I believe an international organization cannot go for this or that specific alternative, but that it should clearly recognize the need for alternatives and support the attempts to create them.

One accusation against men’s studies has been the argument that men use feminism as a way of getting a career, or that men’s studies exploit feminism or women more than they learn from them. This is always a danger with social movements, and a real danger in our case also. An international association cannot do away with the current academic prestige, degree, title, wage etc. system, and should use traditional academic criteria when better alternatives do not exist.

However, since we recognize that the system has many negative effects, usually connects to negative masculinity patterns, tends to obscur the real research issues, generates a lot of egocentric “white noise” (publish or perish, etc.) and leaves the door open for exploitative attitudes or even favours them, we should support and develop alternatives.

In a world where parts of social science and the humanities resemble a fashion scene fueled by upwards social mobility attempts, a discussion of alternatives is surely needed. Therefore, this seems one important area of work for an international organization.

What is special about men’s studies in this context – as it is in women’s studies, in all research investigating gender – is the new links that emerge between theory and method. We are dealing with a subject that cannot be ‘dealt with’ in the traditional manner, to put it that way; we have to reexamine our approaches if we are to understand gender instead of just reenacting it. Formulating and developing new methodological frameworks therefore aren’t just a task for some of us, but inherent in our common task – studying men as men in a critical or pro-feminist perspective.


Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Who should pay for men’s studies?

As for research financing and organisation, what policies should IASOM adopt? There are some very important questions here, regarding the future of our field as a whole. To put it briefly, I believe IASOM should support the attempt to make “the user pay” and not shovel the costs over to women.

Sure, the idea that women’s studies or feminist research programs should pay for this new field is rather strange. Yet this is often the situation, for example here in Norway: “studies of men” are classified as an additional area within a vaguely defined “women/gender”-field. It is NOT classified as an addition to traditional neutralizing “men’s studies”.

This means, in practice, that the researchers asking for money for the new field are not allowed into the distribution of the approximately 99 percent of social science and humanities funding for traditional non-gender-critical research. Not so! Instead, we are often asked to compete for the 1 percent or less that is given primarily to women’s studies.

Therefore, we are easily faced with a  situation where men’s studies come into a competitive relationship with women’s studies over the same small fraction of the research budget. In 1991, the Norwegian Network tried to get funding for a permanent Men’s Studies research programme. We did not succeed, and one major reason was that women’s researchers felt their funding was endangered by our proposal.

There are some important lessons to be learned from this. As far as possible, we should change a competitive situation, and instead create an alliance for enlargening the total to gender-related studies instead. A situation where that opportunity is closed may be part of a power tactic of divide-and-rule, and whatever the motives, it creates a harmful split which should be avoided.

If the total funding given to social or humanities research cannot be enlarged, new costs for men’s studies should be taken from traditional gender-ignorant and anti-feminist men’s studies, which have by now “had their chance”, and not from women’s studies.

Therefore, I believe IASOM should refuse to take money or other privileges if they were originally meant for women’s studies, and ask its member organizations to do the same. This rule probably has some exceptions, primarily if women’s researchers agree the reallocation is OK, but it seems a very important rule nevertheless.

We should do this not just out of tactical considerations, as a recognition of the need for an alliance with women’s studies. It is a rule which is primarily founded on research consideration:

We need on-going women’s research – and most of us also believe that women’s research needs men’s studies. We won’t be able to understand men’s lives and the dominance aspects especially without a rich and flourishing women’s studies and feminist field. These are two main angles, from women’s and men’s lives respectively, into a huge and mostly unexplored area with great consequences on almost any subject or area of society, an area that cannot be understood from one angle alone. This is also why we emphasise the need for on-going dialogue both between women and men researchers in the two fields and between men’s and women’s studies.

In some countries, gender-related studies aren’t very specifically organized; in some there exists two main fields as described above; in others these coexist under a “gender studies” umbrella. The international association should compare and discuss alternative research organization frameworks and funding strategies, and evaluate them  according to our central aims.


Øystein Gullvåg Holter

Conference invitation and call for papers

The first Nordic men and masculinities conference:

International perspectives on the Nordic welfare state models, gender cultures and gender equality politics, with a special focus on changes among men

NOTE: The present conference introduction and call for papers is a preliminary outline only. At the time of writing we do not know whether the first Nordic conference can be arranged in 1994, as planned, and it will probably be postponed from April to September or October. For conference development, call Søren Carlsen (45) 33 92 33 11 (Copenhagen) or Knut Oftung (47) 22 34 25 64 (Oslo).

According to many international observers, gender equality is more of a reality in the Nordic countries than in many other parts of the world. A typical case is a recent British journalists’ report on Norwegian gender conditions announcing Norway was ‘a woman’s country’. Yet gender equality is only partly realized in the Nordic countries.

Are there important differences in the everyday culture and communication between women and men, in politics, in the economy, or in other areas? These questions are adressed at the conference with a focus on men’s roles, in order to facilitate participants’ learning from different international experiences and policies of gender equality related to men especially.

The conference is open for women and men researchers, therapeuts and others doing work of relevance for studies of men. The conference language will be English.

The conference is organized around three more concrete themes that can be regarded as “problem areas” which we’ll work on in greater depth.

These themes are: men’s family participationmen’s wagework participationmethodological and theoretical development of men’s studies. In the men’s family participation session we put emphasis on men’s role as fathers; in the wagework participation session on unemployment and ‘overemployment’ among men, and in the methods/theories session on men’s self-work and dialogue with women and women’s research. Each thematic session will be introduced by one or more keynote speeches and/or a panel discussion, followed by workshops or group discussions.

The conference is arranged by the studies of men coordination group consisting of Knut Oftung and Øystein Gullvåg Holter (The Norwegian Network for Studies of Men), Søren Carlsen and Rudi Rusfort (The Danish Men’s Studies Network) and Lars Jalmert (representing Swedish studies of men) with financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Besides presenting and discussing men’s change and the Nordic equality model in an international perspective, our aims with the conference includes (1) bringing together research initiatives and environments in the Nordic countries for improved contact as well as more permanent forms of cooperation; (2) facilitating cooperation between international researchers in the field, connected to the new International Association for Studies of Men (IASOM) especially; (3) contributing to the large gender equality conference arranged by The Nordic Council in Åbo, Finland, in the summer of 94 (1st to the 6th of August).

The conference will be an important event both on the international and on the Nordic level.

We urge international and Nordic researchers and other professionals doing work of relevance to the study of men to participate in the conference and, if possible, to contribute with papers. As far as possible, papers will be presented in workshop, groups or plenary sessions.

International and Nordic speakers will get their travel and staying expenses partly or wholy covered by the arrangers. In order to facilitate the participation of a number of international speakers, prospective speakers should investigate and inform us of possibilites for joint travel funding, for example from university institutions in the Nordic countries.

The papers will be evaluated by the Nordic coordination group, and selected papers will be published in a conference report, possibly in book format. Therefore authors should be prepared to revise their paper or outline for this book after the conference.

Papers should be written with a view to the international and Nordic framework of the conference. We do NOT require international speakers to be “experts” on Nordic culture, but we do want papers on various themes to be written in an awareness of international differences, specific traits and masculinity forms of the writer’s own country, and related issues. In other words, a paper on men’s violence, or on unemployment issues, should inform the reader not just on the concrete subject but also on the national context of this subject, awhat seems typicaln within each cultural setting. We do recognize that the area of international comparative studies is still very much in its beginning phase in our field, and evaluate papers accordingly.

At the time of writing, the financing and outline for the conference has still not been decided, and the exact dates aren’t clear. If you want to join the conference as participant or speaker, please contact

Knut Oftung

Likestillingsrådet (The Gender Equal Status Council)

POB 8036 Dep.

0030 Oslo Norway

Phone 47-22 34 25 64

Fax 47-22 34 95 21

Conference programme (outline)


1. General presentation: the Nordic equality model and changes among men in the Nordic countries in an international perspective


2. Men’s family participation


Plenum summary


3. Men’s wagework participation


4. Developing studies of men – methods, models and theories


Plenary session with discussion and summary of the conference

Gender equality politics in the Nordic countries

Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland are members of the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council and other political and economical cooperation between these countries express the cultural homegeneity of the region. The proportion of women in politics, including top political positions, is higher in this region than anywhere else. Cross-cultural studies generally give the impression that Scandinavia is somewhat or much more equality-oriented than most other parts of the world (cf. summaries of some of these studies in my book Menn, chp. 2). International observers, journalists and researchers usually note the relative emphasis on social equality, the proportion of women in politics and public life, and daily-life patterns which has perhaps more of a “friendship zone”, and less distance, hostility and dominance between women and men.

Yet these are all relative differences. The region is also patriarchal – with the typical symptions; rape, pornography, abuse, violence, wage discrimination. The overall position of women is still clearly below men’s position, especially in economic terms.

Women in Scandinavia primarily have achieved some power in the state sector, fostered by asocial democracyn in a wide sense – athe welfare staten. The development of the welfare state, and the emphasis on social equality generally, can be seen on a broader historical background.

The Nordic region has usually been aperipheraln in terms of global economy and politics, away from the centres of what Wallerstein calls athe world systemn. This is especially the case with Iceland, the Fareoes, Finland and Norway. In Norway, for example, anationalismn has traditionally had a less aggressive, more ‘progressive’ profile than in more powerful regions, and it is probably no coincidence that models of peripheral dependency – like those of the Norwegian peace researcher Johan Galtung – have been one important contribution of Norwegian social science. Historically, the region was seen as a remote area, distant from the great patriarchal centres of Europe. In medieval times the patriarchal feudal manor system was never fully brought into the region, with some exceptions, and it has been argued that the Scandinavian system of free, dispersed settlement, was important for the transition from feudalism in England in elsewhere.

The weakness of the feudal system for example in Norway has often often mentioned as a broad background explanation of the aequality ideologyn of the region. This ideology is part of the background of social democracy getting more votes in this region than elsewhere, often with long periods of majority or close to majority support for a middle to moderate leftwing kind of social democratic strategy. In the Nordic region, more than elsewhere, patriarchal dominance seems associated with horizontal segregation rather than vertical segregation – women stand below men on the over-all statistical summary not primarily due to having male bosses or other men above them, but due to working in the wrong sectors. Since we lack good segregation measures, this is a somewhat impressionistic conclusion, but it seems right for many areas. Even in politics, women tend to end up in the wrong committees – those with no money to distribute (cf. Hege Skjeie). This is of course a well-known tendency in most countries; it is the relative importance of horizontal segregation and relative weakness of vertical segregation which is the point. This means, for example, that women have a much harder time getting into top political authority positions in a country like the US than in Norway.

The Nordic approach to gender equality politics is connected to the welfare state ideals and to state intervention in a “mixed” economy. Women’s influence has been tied to state influence in what has been called a state feminismn (Helga Hernes). The problems of this strategy are a major focus of current discussions, since on the whole, it has not abolished the patriarchal structure, even if there has been a gradual improvement in some areas.

In other areas, like sexual violence, there seems to be detoriation rather than improvement. There is frustration, and the tendency towards a “backlash” was the theme for the main women’s movement conference in Norway this year, partly inspired by Susan Falludi’s book, visited by some 900 women and men.

The problems of the Nordic strategy may be related to the problems of social democracy, welfare state and state interventionism in general, and to other factors. It may also be seen in the perspective of the relative equality that has been achieved. Many people, and young people especially, tend to believe gender equality has now been more or less realized, and this is probably one major reason why many people support concrete equality issues, yet do not support the idea that we need more “gender equality” (likestilling) in a general sense. People in the Nordic countries know less about “the war against women” than people in more strongly patriarchal regions.

As mentioned, these are all relative differences, and studies exist that cast doubt on the  relative egalitarianism (cf. Karin Sandquist). The practical differences may be less wide than the ideological, yet there is little doubt that both exist, and sometimes the emerge in a rather striking cultural fashion. Hillary Clinton, living in Norway, would not have been asked on TV whether she could bake a good cake for her husband.

By placing masculinities within national and cultural frameworks, men’s studies may be able to create more distinct and detailed pictures of what different “masculinities” are, how they interrelate, and how they connect to other power relationships. A Nordic international conference, like the proposed conference presented above, is one way to approach this.

Øystein Gullvåg Holter

IASOM questionnaire

Your response to this list of questions is important to us. The first part is background information. The International Association for Studies of Men needs to be able to present a list of members, to make members with similar interests get in contact with each other, to refer properly to your academic degrees and job titles, etc. Since the IASOM platform and organization rules will be debated and revised in 1995, the list does not include questions about them (if you have suggestions, revisions etc. please forward them on a diskette – see page 2). Check the items you select and fill out your answers to the open questions with a few key words. BE SURE TO FAX OR MAIL THIS QUESTIONNAIRE PAGE after you have finished (address at end).

First, we need some information about you.

Name: ...........................


Age:   l years

Sex: F   l M

Job title: ..........................

Qualifications (academic degree or similar):

Work adress:


Work phone(s):

Work fax(es):

Home adress:  


Home phone:

Home fax:

To which academic discipline is your work primarily related?

Do you teach?

lYes lSome lNo

Do you see clients in therapy or counseling?

lYes lSome lNo

If you have published, can you give us a couple of references to 1-2 of your more important publications?





Do you want to join the IASOM as a member?

    Yes, as a personal member

    Yes, as part of my national group or organization

If you think this organization is unknown to us, please give us the adress, phone, fax and name of the organization and/or its contact person.



    I want to stay in contact (recieve the IASOM newsletter), but not to join as a member

Do you know of others, in your own country or in other countries, who might possibly want to join IASOM and should recieve this newsletter, and who probably haven’t done so already?

Names and adresses:





Are you able to be as active in the men’s studies research field as you would like?

lYes  lNo

If not, why not? (some key words)


IASOM should emphasise:

    informal network building and mutual support

    counseling, post-degree training

    teaching and student issues

    theoretical debate and development

    methodological debate and development

    therapeutic and personal change issues

    international conferences

    English-language book and paper publication opportunities

    the masculinities journal

    other specific subjects, namely:   


When you consider the situation in your own country, are there special areas or tasks which would be particularly important?



Considering the international situation, are there IASOM tasks that need special emphasis?


In your own case, how are the financial opportunities for developing the studies of men field?

l Good lNot so good  

How about funding for the field generally in your country?

l Good lNot so good  

Do you know of funding institutions, research programs, etc.that might contribute to international studies of men projects?(Please give their names)



Are there important non-research organizations (like men’s therapy centres or similar) that IASOM should contact?


How many people do you think are active in the field, with funding for their research, in your country?


Do you have an estimate of the number of people who are active part-time or engaged in the development of the field even if not currently funded to work within it?


In which ways do you want to contribute to IASOM? I would like to:

    be the national contact person (if relevant)

    join the newsletter work group

    do editorial and distribution work for the masculinities journal

    join an international conference work group

    join a research politics and funding opportunities work group

    join a teaching issues group

    join a therapeutic issues group (specific topics:

    join a humanities research interest group (specific topics:

    join a theory development group (specific topics:       

    join a method development group (specific topics:       

    create or join another special interest group; subject:       

    participate in an international study; subject:       

(If you’ve checked none of these, please consider that we are not out to create a load of additional work for you.By stating your interests, you help us mapping the different themes and issues of interest to IASOM members, and to help those of you with similar interests get in contact with each other.)

Thank you!

Don’t forget to return this questionnaire by mailing or faxing it to:

The IASOM Coordination Group
c/o Oystein G. Holter
The Work Research Institute
POB. 8171 Dep. 0034

Oslo Norway

Fax: 47-22 56 89 18

Also, don’t hesitate to call if you have comments or questions!

Phone: 47-22 46 16 70