Masculinity, Misogyny and the UK Left: A Case Study of Momentum

Student thesis: Phd

Abstract

This thesis explores the understudied area of masculinity in radical left-wing social movements. While there is a scattered gendered body of literature on social movements, how men participate and construct masculinities has received less scholarly attention. Specifically, this thesis develops the analytical concept of "inarticulate masculinities" - how men's experiences and expressions of masculinity may not conform to traditional gender norms but struggle to articulate themselves as doing so. This thesis identifies a gap in the academic study of masculinity in social movements. A theoretical framework is drawn from the works of Raymond Williams and Felix Guattari to propose a novel method for understanding the shaping of identities within cultures, especially radical political cultures. Drawing on interviews with men involved in Momentum, I explore how left-wing cultures shape and discipline masculine identities. While left-wing men can – and do – perpetuate patriarchal power structures and traditional gender roles under the guise of radical activism, this thesis highlights how alternative and emergent masculine practises manifest. The significance of this research extends beyond a better understanding of masculinity in social movements. The thesis argues that inarticulate masculinities have broader implications for affect studies and social movement research. Scholars can better understand the affective dimensions of political engagement by exploring men's emotional experiences and expressions in social movements. Through highlighting how gender norms are constructed and contested in social movements, this research contributes to a more nuanced understanding of how political practises and cultures shape and sustain identities
Date of Award1 Aug 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGemma Edwards (Supervisor) & Kevin Gillan (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Structures of feeling
  • Affect
  • Momentum
  • Masculinities

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