Men at Work: Labour, Masculinities, Development

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Work and masculinity among Peruvian urban men | Eldis

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Cite article How to cite? The paper is divided into four sections.


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In the first I look briefly at some of the writing on masculinity that has emerged in South Africa in recent years. In the second part I discuss South African men's autobiographical writings generally, and some of the implications of the gendered dimensions of the typology I have developed. In the third section I discuss the inter-relationship of masculinity, schooling and work that emerges in the autobiographies. The final section is anxious and reflexive about feminists working on masculinity, outside commentators working on personal voices.

There are some images of men in developing worlds, for example, lazy African men who leave their wives with all work, authoritarian Muslim men who segregate women normatively, and the masculinity of idling and wasting money in the feudal Vietnamese society Oda, After conceptual shifts, many feminist researchers, activists and policy makers have emphasised the focus on gender, rather than a single category of women, as socially constructed differences and inequalities between men and women, and even between women and women.

Studies of men and masculinities in developing or non-western parts of the world have not been well developed. I stayed with other team members in two villages of Dry Zone for about 20 days, although the rest of the team went to Shan State and Delta Region, too, and the other team studied six villages in Northern Rakhine State near Bangladesh. However, it is extremely difficult for me to locate images of poor men in Myanmar in both analytical and descriptive ways. Written materials for gender analysis are decisively not available about Myanmar, since there are very few studies and publications of gender, and there are many restrictions for foreigners to take research in the country, especially in remote areas.

Nevertheless, to write about poor men and gender relations in Myanmar may be a good opportunity to know about this large, but not well-documented, country in Southeast Asia, sometimes with certain aspect emphasised. My paper and presentation at the seminar would describe my dissertation research in progress, and the results of pilot research carried out for my dissertation. Specifically, I am currently carrying out qualitative, life history research with low income adolescent and young adult males, ages , in a Rio de Janeiro favela, a low income settlement where armed, drug trafficking comandos somewhat but not exactly equivalent to gangs in the U.

In this setting, the salient versions of heterosexual masculinity are often characterised by callous attitudes toward women and a lack of male involvement in childrearing and in reproductive health. Both for young men involved in drug trafficking comandos, as well as young men effected by this violence by its proximity, manhood is also frequently defined by violence.

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However, while the prevailing models of heterosexual masculinity in this setting are associated with traditional, machista attitudes and frequently with violence, clearly not all young men follow this model of manhood. Pilot research in Rio de Janeiro and in somewhat analogous communities in Chicago confirmed that some young men are respectful in their relationships with young men, participate actively in child rearing if they have children , assume responsibility for reproductive health issues and seek to stay out of violence and delinquency.

The existence of these young men leads to the central question for this research in progress: What are possible pathways to gender-equitable and non-gang-involved manhood in a particular setting where the prevailing models of masculinity are associated with callous attitudes toward women, a lack of male involvement in child rearing and reproductive health and frequently with gang-related violence?

My pilot research suggests that rather than merely seeking to identify discrete variables or factors, it is more useful to identify pathways -- which I am defining as a constellation of developmental conditions, characteristics and resources individual, familial and social that show some continuity from early childhood through adolescence -- that enable or encourage young men in this setting to achieve gender equitable and non-violent versions of manhood.

I am using the term pathway to reflect the complexity and interaction of these three categories of variables or developmental conditions: individual, familial and social. Male Identity and Work in the Brazilian Context. Pilot research in Rio de Janeiro found that low income and working class young men ages , when asked what one has to do to "be a man," referred to two aspects as being central to achieving socially recognized manhood: 1 being heterosexually active; and 2 financially providing for themselves or their families.

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Achieving the status of sexually active was seen as the easier of the two. Finding stable employment, especially for low income young men, was seen as a feat that they might not be able to achieve and a source of considerable stress. In addition, the instability of employment -- for women and men -- and the lack of viable employment in the industrial sector for many working class and low income men, as well as the prevalent models of masculinity in Brazil, have also contributed to a high degree of conflict and stress in male-female relations, as observed in my research and reported by other researchers.

In this setting, what happens in the process of identity formation during adolescence, and later in the life cycle, to adolescent or adult men who are not able to achieve societal expectations and find adequate employment? Many young men in my pilot research in Rio de Janeiro reported examples of fathers who abandoned their families, were physically abusive of their wives and children, turned to alcohol or faced other problems as a result of unemployment or being unable to fulfil their socially designated role of provider.

Various studies around the world have documented that since most societies define a man's principle role to be the breadwinner, men face considerable stress when they are not able to fulfil that function. Sometimes I run away from her so I don't have to answer when she asks me if I found a job. I look and I look but I can't find a job. It's hard' Young adult male, Rio de Janeiro, in female-headed household. A few young men interviewed were encountering the situation of being involved with young women who worked in service-oriented professions, and were earning more than the young men.

In this setting, involvement in comandos becomes an attractive option for many young men, allowing them access to the title of being "provider," and access to consumer goods -- clothes, etc.

Men at Work : Labour, Masculinities, Development

In this setting then, my research is examining and identifying possible pathways to manhood and mapping out possible masculine identities. From this pilot research, the most salient characteristics of the gender-equitable young men interviewed are:. Having an important relationship or multiple relationships with someone who modeled alternative ways of being a man, or alternative gender roles. Belonging to an alternative peer group that reinforced a progressive version of masculinity. Having reflected about and found outlets to express fear related to the prevailing, gang-involved model of masculinity.

The following are other common themes that emerged in the pilot research:. The lack of models of what respectful and caring male-female relationships look like. The lack of role models for what involved fatherhood looks like. The omnipresent pressure of finding and maintaining employment, with no social spaces where they are "allowed" to express the stress they experience related to achieving the role of provider. As in many parts of the world, much of the research on low income adolescent men in Brazil has focused on delinquency and gang-involvement, contributing to general societal views that poverty and masculinity combined inherently lead to violence.

My research has the deliberate political purpose of moving away from this deficit-oriented perspective on low income adolescent boys to one that finds potentials and identifies social supports, family conditions and individual characteristics that enable many young men in these settings to become gender equitable and non-violent. The lives of these young men represent a tremendous potential for helping us understand how to help other young men achieve the non-violent, caring and respectful models of manhood that they, their communities and families generally want.

I am currently working with the World Health Organization's Adolescent Health and Development Programme and local NGOs in Brazil to apply implications from my own and other research on adolescent males to programme development. I have also been working with WHO to identify gaps in existing research with adolescent boys. Forrest sussex. This paper addresses a number of issues relevant to discussions of work, men, and "development' in so-called developing countries.

Using examples from the Republic of Cuba, or more specifically the capital city of Havana, I focus on certain types of Cuban-foreigner relationships often referred to locally as jineterismo and which includes male-on-male prostitution.


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I take jineterismo and the income-generating or "gift-exchange" activities often subsumed within it as a metaphor for Cuba's current positioning within the global capitalist market and its citizens' situatedness within the international division of labour. I use contemporary Cuba as an example of a country whose socialist-cum-nationalist government has been committed at least in theory if not always in practice to an egalitarian form of economic and social development, citizen participating in local decision making, and equality between the sexes and races, however imperfectly premised and implemented.

It is also the very same government which has been faced and continues to be faced with a huge foreign debt. In addition, for forty years it has been militarily, politically, and economically hounded by its mightier northern neighbour, and "aided" in its development by a type of "aid-on-condition-you-do-x-and-y" push, first by its then economically struggling socialist allies and latterly by its Janus-faced friends in the more dynamic European and Canadian economies.

A number of important questions relevant to this current ESRC series come to mind here. Firstly, in talking about local patterns of "work", of sexual equality, of "empowerment", of participation, of local democracy, and so on, how can the Cuban state develop or implement its own "progressive" policies, and how can its more enlightened citizenry demand implementation of such policies or others under a broader state of affairs not of their own making and over which they have little control or say?

How can local people become empowered when some of the fundamental means of empowerment - economic security, education, health, and so on - are in fact being eroded in the light of external pressure and conditions?


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Indeed, what does "empowerment" mean under circumstances in which choice is limited and desires frustrated? Moreover, in focusing on gender relations have we not further mystified the notion of "power" and "empowerment"? In shifting our attention away from how society is governed and the external constraints placed upon it with cries of "There Is No Alternative" or "TINA ' for short, as one journal has called this we have sought refuge in questions concerning how local gendered individuals relate to one another within the household and work, in sex, childbirth and so on.

In other words, are we not drawing the bath water before we've even constructed the bath putting aside questions as to the very legitimacy of "our" social interventions in the first places?

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The paper also notes the ways in which the Cuban state, and many gender-focused studies, have tended to see local women and to a much lesser extent men as victims of North-South sex tourism often with the assumption that all sex tourists are men. My concern lies with what Rosalind Coward within the Western feminist context has called a tendency towards "womanism" - 'a popularised version of feminism which acclaims everything women do and disparages men'.

http://thepridecafe.com/images/textbook/schnee-eulen-luegen-nicht-german-edition.php Under these presuppositions men are targeted as the source or carriers of social problems whilst women are seen as being more important in spearheading positive change. Moreover, womanists, she adds. It is a viewpoint equally reactionary as that which ignores women's importance in social development, and one that is immediately problematised in the Cuban sex-tourism context and in the context of many of our own personal relationships.