Queer eye on a 'straight' life: deconstructing masculinities in construction

Paul Chan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The male-ness or masculine nature of the construction industry has often been blamed for the problems of equality and diversity in the sector. Yet, what constitutes masculinity in construction is rarely problematised. Conventionally,masculinity in construction tended to be associated with the subordination and harassment of minority groups (e.g. women, non-heterosexuals), and the ideals of keeping fit in order to meet the tough, physical demands of construction work. In this study, an attempt was made to expand the conceptualisation of alternative masculinities in construction. By deploying Queer Theory, the life stories of nine non-heterosexuals working in trade and professional occupations in the construction industry were analysed to explore how a range of different masculinities played out in the social interactions in their personal and working lives. The findings suggest that conventional hegemonic masculinity, whilst present, is not the only form of masculinity that subordinates minority groups in construction. Rather, other non hegemonic forms of masculinity (e.g. found in homo-social contexts) also serve to exclude both men and women. Nevertheless, examples were also identified of minorities countering such exclusionary forms of masculinity through, for instance, friendship alliances at work, which could offer possibilities for building a more inclusive workplace in construction.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)816-831
    Number of pages15
    JournalConstruction management and economics
    Volume31
    Issue number0
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • Equality and diversity
    • Gender
    • Masculinities
    • Queer Theory
    • Sexuality

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