{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

history of masculinity

history of masculinity - '38 02L 1 14 detail but we need an...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–17. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 6
Image of page 7

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 8
Image of page 9

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 10
Image of page 11

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 12
Image of page 13

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 14
Image of page 15

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 16
Image of page 17
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: '38; 02L}; 1 14 detail, but we need an argument of broader scope as well. It is mainly ethnographic research that has made the scale of the issue, and the vital connections, clear:_the unprecedented growth of European and North Ameri— can power, the creation of global empires and a global capitalist economy, and the unequal encounter of gender orders in the colonized world. I say “connections” and not “context”, because the firndarncntal point is that masculinities are not only shaped by the process of imperial expansion, they are active in that process and help to shape it. Popular culture tells us this without prompting. Exemplars of masculinity, whether legendary or real — from Paul Bunyan in Canada via Davy Crockett in the United States to Lawrence “of Arabia” in England — have very often been What follows is, inevitably, only a sketch of a vastly complex history. Yet it seems important to get even rough bearrn gs on a history so charged with significance for our current situation- Reprinted from Mmmkm‘n‘er (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 185—203, 253—5. 246 ' R. W. Come" The Production of Masculinity in the Formation of the ' Modern Gender Order In the period from about 1450 to about 1650 (the “long” sixteenth century, in the useful phrase of the French historian Fernand Brandel) the modern capitalist economy came into being around the North Atlantic, and the modern gender order also began to take shape in that region. Four developments seem particularly important for the making of those configurations of social practice that we now call “masculinity”. ' First was the cultural change that produced new understandings of sexuality and personhood in metropolitan EurOpe. When medieval Catholicism, already changing, was disrupted by the spread of Renaissance secular culture and the. Protestant reformation, long—established and powerful ideals for men‘s lives were also disrupted. The monastic system crumbled. The power of religion to control the intellectual world and to regulate everyday life began its slow, contested, but decisive decline. On the one hand, this opened the way for a growing cultural emphasis on the conjugal household — exemplified by no less a figure than Martin Luther, the married monk. Marital heterosexuality displaced monastic denial as the most honoured form of sexuality. The cultural authority of compulsory heterosexualiry clearly followed this shift. On the other hand, the new emphasis on individuality of expression and on each person’s unmediated relationship with God led towards individualism and the concept of an autonomous self. These were cultural prerequisites for the idea of masculinity itself, . . .a type of person whose gendered character is the reason for his (or her, in the case of masculine women) actions. Classical philosophy from Descartes to Kant, as Victor Seidler has argued, construed reason and science through oppositions with the natural world and with emotion. With masculinity defined as a character structure marked by rationality, and Western civilization defined as the bearer of reason to a benighted world, a cultural link between the legitimation of patriarchy and the legitimation of empire was forged.1 The second development was the creation of overseas empires by the Atlantic seaboard states * Portugal and Spain, then the Netherlands, France and England. (The overland empires of Russia and the United States, and the overseas empires of Germany, Italy and Japan, came in a second round of imperialism.) - Empire was a gendered enterprise from the start, initially an outcome of the segregated men’s occupations of soldiering and sea trading. When European women went to the colonies it was mainly as wives and servants within households controlled by men. Apart from a few monarchs (notably Isabella and Elizabeth), the imperial states created to rule the new empires were entirely staffed by men, and developed a statecraft based on the force supplied by the organized bodies of men. The men who applied force at the colonial frontier, the “conquistadors” as they were called in the Spanish case, were perhaps the first group to become defined as a masculine cultural type in the modern sense. The conquistador was a figure displaced from customary social relationships, ofien extremely violent in the search for land, gold and converts, and difficult for the imperial state to control. (The The History of Masculinity 247 hostility between the royal authorities and Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, was notorious.) Loss of control at the frontier is a recurring theme in the history of empires, and is .closely connected with the making of masculine exemplars. ' An immediate consequence was a clash over the ethics of conquest, and a demand for controls. Bartolomé de Las- Casas’s famous denunciation of the bloodbath that resulted from the uncontrolled violence of the Spanish conquerors, in his Very Brig“ Relation of the Destruction of the Indies, is thus a significant moment in the history of masculinity. “Insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their villainies.” las Casas’s rhetoric was literally correct. This was something new in the world, and his own work was the first extended critique of an emerging gender form.2 The third key development was the growth of the cities that were the centres of commercial capitalism, notably Antwerp, London and Amsterdam, creating a new setting for everyday life. This was both more anonymous, and more coherently regulated, than the frontier or the countryside. The main gender consequences of this change became visible only in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but for brevity I will note them here. The permeate urban culture. This was the development picked up in Max Weber’s thesis about the “Protestant ethic”, and it is interesting to notice the gendered character of the “spirit of capitalism”. Weber’s prime exhibit was Benjamin Frank- lin, and he quoted this passage: The most trifling actions that affect a man’s credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or eight at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard—table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day. . . A man, literally, is meant. The entrepreneurial culture and workplaces of commer- cial capitalism institutionalized a form of masculinity, creating and legitimating new forms of gendered work and power in the counting-house, the warehouse and But this was not the only transformation of gender in the commercial cities. The same period saw the emergence of sexual subcultures. The best documented are the Molly houses of early eighteenth-century London, “Molly” being a slang term used for effeminate men who met in particular houses and taverns, and whose gender practices included cross-dressing, dancing together and sexual intercourse With each other. Historians of the period have noted a shift in medical ideologies of gender, from an earlier period when gender anomalies were freely attributed to hermaphroditic bodies, to a later period when a clear—cut dichotomy of bodies was presumed and anomalies therefore became a question of 'gender deviance. The requirement that one must have a personal identity as a man or a woman, rather than simply a location in the social order as a person with a male or female (or hermaphroditic) body, gradually hardened in European culture. Mary Wollstonecraft’s perception 248 R. W. Connell of the social bases of women’s gendered character, in contrast to that of men, provided the core argument of her Vindication ofths Rights of Woman at the end of the eighteenth century.3 The fourth development was the onset of large—scale European civil war. The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion, merging into the dynastic wars'of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, did more than relocate a few kings and bishops. They disturbed the legitimacy of the gender order. The World Turned Upside Down by revolutionary struggles could be the gender as well as the class order. In the. English—speaking countries it was the Quakers, a religious— cum-political-sect emerging from the upheavals of the English civil war, who made the first public defence of equality in religion for women. They not only pr0~ claimed'the principle, but actually gave women a significant organizing role in practice. . This challenge was turned back (though its memory lingered). The patriarchal order was consolidated by another produCt of the European civil wars, the strOng centralized state. In the era of absolute monarchy the state provided a larger-scale institutionalization of men’s power than had been possible before. The profes- sional armies constructed in the. religious and dynastic wars, as well as in imperial conquest, became a key part of the modern state. Military prowess as a test of honour was in medieval Europe a class theme—of knighthood r the connection mocked in Cervantes’ Dem Quixote. It increasingly became an issue of masculinity and nationalism, a transition visible in Shakespeare’s most chauvinistic play: On, on, you Noblish English, Whose blood is fet from Fathers of Warre-proofe: Fathers, that like so many Alexanders, Have in theseparts from Morne till Even fought And sheath’d their Swords, for lack of argument.‘1 With the eighteenth century, in seaboard Europe and North America at least, we can speak of a gender order in which masculinity in the modern sense 4 gendered individual character, defined through an opposition with femininity and institu- tionalized in economy and state — had been produced and stabilized. For this period we can even define a hegemonic type of masculinity and describe some of its relations to subordinated and marginalized forms. Though cultural change in the cities has caught the attention of historians, it was the class of hereditary landowners, the gentry, who dominated the North Atlantic world of the eighteenth century. George Washington was a notable example of the. class and its hegemonic form of masculinity. Based in land ownership, gentry masculinity was involved in capitalist economic relations (production for the 'market, extraction of rents) but did not emphasize strict rational calculation in the manner of the merchants. Nor was it based on a concept of the isolated individual. Land ownership was embedded in kinship; the lineage as much as the individual was the social unit. British politics in the age of Walpole and the Pitts, for instance, generally followed Family lines with the state apparatus controlled by great families through patron- age. British rule in India and North America was organized on much the same lines. The History of Masculinity 249 Gentry masculinity was closely integrated with the state. The gentry provided local administration (through justices of the peace, in the British-system) and staffed the military apparatus. The gentry provided army and navy officers, and often recruited the rank and file' themselves. At the intersection between this direct involvement in violence and the ethic of family honour was the institution of the duel- Willingness to face an opponent in a potentially lethal one-to—one combat was a key test of gentry masculinity, and it' was affronts to honour that provoked such confrontations. In this sense the masculinity of the gentry was emphatic and violent. Yet the gender order as a whole was not 'as strongly regulated as it later became. Thus a French gentleman, the Chevalier d’Eon, could be switched from masculine to feminine gender without being socially discredited (though remaining an object of curiosity for the rest of her life). Licence in sexual relationships, especially with women of the lower classes, was a prerogative of rank. It was even to a degree celebrated, by the “libertines”. It seems that homosexual relationships were being increasingly understood as defining a specific type of men, though in the writings of the Marquis de Sade they are still an aspect of libertinage in general. Gentry masculinity involved domestic authority over women, though the women were actively involved in making and maintaining the network of alliances that tied- the gentry together — the strategies lovingly dissected in Jane Austen’s novels. - Gentry masculinity involved a much more brutal relationship with the agricul- tural workforce, still the bulk of the population. The social boundary here was marked by the code of honour, which was not applied outside the gentry. Control was exerted by evictions, imprisonment, the lash, transportation and hangings. Applying this violent discipline was not a specialized profession. It was an ordinary part of local administration, from the English countryside, and George Washing— ton’s slave estate in Virginia, to the new colony at the Antipodes — where Samuel Marsden, the “Flogging Parson”, became a well—known justice of the peace.5 Transformations The history of European/American masculinity over the last two hundred years can broadly be understood as the splitting of gentry masculinity, its gradual displacement by new hegemonic forms, and the emergence of an array of subor— dinated and marginalized masculinities. The reasons for these changes are im- mensely complex,'but I would suggest that three are central: challenges to the gender order by women, the logic of the gendered accumulation process in indus- trial capitalism, -and the-power relations of empire. I The challenge from women is now well documented. The nineteenth century saw a historic change in gender politics, the emergence of feminism as a form of mass politics — a mobilization for women’s'rights, especially the suffrage, in public arenas. This was closely connected to the growth of the liberal state and its reliance on concepts of citizenship. Yet women’s challenges to the gender order were not confined to the suffrage movement, which had a limited reach. Gentry and middle—class women were active in reforms of morals and domestic customs in the early nineteenth century which 250 I ' R. W. Conhell sharply challenged the sexual prerogatives of gentry men. Working—class women contested their economic dependence on men as the factory system evolved. Middle-class women again challenged men’s prerogatives through the temperanCe movement of the late nineteenth century. The conditions for the maintenance of. patriarchy changed with these challenges, and the kind of masculinity which could be hegemonic changed in response. ' “rith the spread of industrial economies and the growth- of bureaucratic states (whether liberal or autocratic), the economic and political power of the land- owning gentry declined. This was a slow process, and effective rear- guard actions were fought. For instance the Prussian gentry, the Iunkers, kept control of the German state into the twentieth century. In the course of the transition, some of the forms of gentry masculinity were handed on to the men of the bourgeoisie. The historian Robert Nye has given us a remarkable example: the transfer of a prickly code of honour, centring on the institution of the duel, to the bourgeoisie in France. The number of duels fought in France actually rose in the later nine- teenth century, and a profession of duelling-master developed to induct men into the code and teach the techniques of sword-fighting.6 Though some men died in duels, this was basically a symbolic definition of masculinity through violence. Real warfare became increasingly organized. The mass armies of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars became standing conscript armies with permanent officer corps. Such corps, at first recruited from the gentry, became repositories of gentry codes of masculinity, the Prussian officer corps being the most famous example. (Hitler’s generals in the 19405 were still mostly drawn from this background-) But the social context was changed. The new officer corps were professionalized, trained at military schools. ' Violence was now combined with rationality, with bureaucratic techniques of organization and constant technological advance in weaponry and transport. Armed forces were reorganized to bring them under the control of a centre of technical knowledge, the General Staff, an institution created by the Prussians and copied in fear by the other Great Powers. If Las Casas’s writings can be regarded as a key document of early modern masculinity, perhaps the equivalent for the nineteenth century is Carl von Clausewitz’s classic On WM, proclaiming a social technology of rationalized violence on the largest possible scale. Clausewitz was one of the reformers who created the new Prussian army? It was the social technique of bureaucratically rationalized violence, as much as sheer superiority of weapons, that made European states and settlers almost invin~ cible in the colonial wars of the nineteenth century. But this technique risked destroying the society that sustained it. The vast destructiveness of the Great War led to revolutionary upheaval in 1917—23. In much of Europe the capitalist order was stabilized, after a decade of further struggle, only by fascist movements. In gender terms, fascism was a naked reassertion of male supremacy in societies that had been moving towards equality for ,women. To accomplish this, fascism promoted new images of hegemonic masculinity, glorifying irrationality (the “tri- umph of the will”, thinking with “the blood”) and the unrestrained violence of the frontline soldier. Its dynamics soon led to a new and even more devastating global war.3 The defeat of fascism in the Second WorldWar cut off this turn in hegemonic masculinity. But it'certainly did not end the bureaucratic institutionalization” 0f £50m ”FD ma—wms—d-Hj." mguww "-1le av} U‘I Ii The History of Masculinity 251 violence. Hitler himself had modernized his armed forces and was an enthusiast for . high-technology weapons; in that respect fascism supported rationalization. The Red Army and UnitedStates armed forces which triumphed in 1945 continued to multiply their destructive capability, as the nuclear arsenal built up. In China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Argentina, Chile and much of Africa, less technologically advanced armies remain central to the politics of their respective states. There are currently about twenty million in the world’s armed forces, the vast majority being men, with their organization modelled on the armies of the North Atlantic powers? The growing significance of technical expertise in the military paralleled devel— opments in other parts of the economy. The nineteenth century saw the founda— tion of mass elementary schooling, and the twentieth century has added public secondary and university systems. Research institutes were invented and the re search capabilities of corporations and government departments have been hugely expanded. Labour markets have been transformed by the multiplication of profes- sions with claims to expertise. Information industries have expanded geometrically. Currently one of the two richest persons in the United States is a specialist in computer programming, a man whose company designed the operating system for the computer I am using to write this text (plus a few million other computers).10 These trends have seen another split in hegemonic masculinity. Practice organ- ized around dominance was increasingly incompatible with practice organized and in the state. (The correct use of experts — “on tap or on top” — is .a classic issue in management science; while the idea of “management science” itself reveals the prestige of expertise.) Factional divisions opened in both capitalist ruling classes and communist elites between those willing to coerce'workers (conservatives/ hard—liners), and those willing to make concessions on the strength of techno- logical advance and economic growth (liberals/re...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern