“Reformed” Men? Positioning Masculinities in Alexandra Township

Pyke, Toni (2017) “Reformed” Men? Positioning Masculinities in Alexandra Township. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Despite the growing body of literature focusing on men and masculinity/ies, there is limited material that adequately explores the everyday experiences and specificities of being and living as a man in diverse social and cultural contexts. Furthermore, inadequate consideration is given to the unique ways in which men redefine, renegotiate and reconstruct their masculinities and multiple identities over time, or the challenges/limitations that they may experience during this process. More importantly, there is a lack of critical attention given to men’s agentic roles in supporting a vision for gender equality and social change. Considering men’s lived realities, subjectivities, the ways in which they redefine and reconstruct multiple masculinities and social identities across time and diverse social and cultural environments, has significant implications for studying and working with men in international human development contexts.
In this thesis, I consider these dimensions within the context of township living. Through daily interactions with men in Alexandra township in Johannesburg, South Africa, I explore their subjective interpretations of what it means to be a man in this context and the ways in which change, specifically political, social and economic change, is experienced through their daily lives, their sense of self and their social relationships. I demonstrate that as men reflect on change, they struggle to renegotiate the parameters of their masculinities within a patriarchal context that is steadfast in its expectations of traditional gendered norms, alongside an absence of alternative masculine blueprints for transforming masculinities.
Through self-reflection, peer group support and for some, access to gender-transformative workshops, some men are actively engaging with the change agenda and are exploring their lives and their future aspirations, and reconsidering what it means to be a man in the context of Alexandra township.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2018 16:54
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2018 16:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/66591

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