EuroPROFEM - The European Men Profeminist Network http://www.europrofem.org
46en_vio ... Violence
Male Roles and Masculinities
in the Perspective of a Culture of Peace - UNESCO
EXPERT GROUP MEETING
UNESCO organized through its "Women and the Culture of Peace" Programme the Expert Group Meeting on "Male Roles and Masculinities in the Perspective of a Culture of Peace" in Oslo, Norway, from 24 to 28 September 1997. The meeting was organized in co-operation with the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO and with the support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the Council of Europe and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Whilst womens roles and status have been broadly debated over the last decades, mens roles and positions have hardly been discussed. Recently, however, the question of masculinities has been addressed in a series of publications; and the importance of a gender perspective, as underlined strongly in the Beijing Platform for Action and in the ECOSOC-meeting in July 1997, is more widely understood.
In a world in rapid transformation, characterized by high risk of unemployment, marginalization and exclusion, the linking of male identity primarily to positions of power and decision-making in public and private life seems to create frustration and severe problems that counteract and put at risk transformations from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.
Drawing on existing literature and theoretical knowledge in the relevant academic disciplines and interdisciplinary fields, the meeting, which brought together peace and gender researchers and activists with experience of anti-violence work among men, examined gender-related factors that hinder or sustain movements towards a culture of peace. It further explored the development of new, more egalitarian and partnership-oriented types of masculinities as opposed to traditional and stereotyped expectations of masculinity that might lead to undue acceptance of the use of authority, dominance, control, force, aggressiveness and violence.
The meeting further addressed the harmful consequences of rigid and stereotyped definitions of masculinity and femininity, roles of dominance and submission, the consequences of raising boy children to be tough and dominating and the social, cultural and economic conditions producing violence among men.
The meeting explored practical strategies for reducing mens violence, and the possibilities of raising boys in ways that emphasise the qualities (such as emotional response, caring, and communication skills) needed in building a culture of peace. It undertook the task of formulating recommendations, addressed to the UN, UNESCO, Member States and NGOs, for practical measures that enhance the development of a gender-sensitive culture of peace, in relation to society and its major institutions such as the family, the educational system, the media and political, military and religious structures. Special emphasis was given to how to develop insight and training in addressing conflicts and "disempowerment" without recourse to violent behaviour.
I - INTRODUCTION
The meeting was primarily European in scope. Resource persons from five continents ensured, however an inter-regional perspective. The meeting counted some 60 participants from 30 countries, including: 17 experts, 6 resource persons, 15 international observers, including from NGOs, governments and the UN system and some 20 Norwegian observers.
2. Opening statements
Participants were welcomed to the meeting with short addresses from Ms Helga Hernes, Ambassador, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ms Ingrid Eide, Chairperson of the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO. Ms Olöf Olafsdóttir, of the Council of Europe, reported from the related seminar "Promoting Equality: A Common Issue for Men and Women" recently held by the Council of Europe.
The Representative of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Ingeborg Breines, referred to the Information Note and the background of the meeting, the relevant UNESCO procedures, and UNESCOs hopes and expectations for the meeting, which included strengthening the conceptual framework and defining policies and action in order to move towards overcoming gender related obstacles to building a culture of peace.
3. Presentations and election of officers
After a round of presentations, Mr. Øystein Gullvåg Holter was elected chairperson, and Ms Svetlana Slapak and Mr. Michael Kaufman vice-chairpersons. Mr. Robert Connell was elected rapporteur and Ms Constantina Safilios-Rothschild, Ms Marysia Zalewski and Mr. Robert Morrell co-rapporteurs.
Mr. Malvern Lumsden introduced in an informal session on the first day, diverse and creative ways of getting to know each other, and expanded on art as a means of developing non-violent conflict resolution.
4. Adoption of the Agenda and working procedures
The proposed agenda and procedures were adopted. (See annex I). Participants chose to have small group discussions on most of the topics of the agenda in addition to the presentations of papers and the plenary discussions.
Two psychologists and peace researchers acted as process facilitators.
5. Report and recommendations
The experts agreed on the last day on a set of recommendations. The rapporteur and the chairperson were given the responsibility to finalize the wording of the recommendations in accordance with the discussions and the spirit of the meeting and in co-operation with the representative of the Director General. (See Chapter III).
The experts further agreed to the rapporteurs summary of the issues and themes of the meeting. (See Chapter II).
Abstracts of the presented papers have been included in this report in order to provide a broader background for the recommendations. (See Chapter IV).
It is intended to publish a selection of papers in book form at a later date.
II - RAPPORTEURS SUMMARY OF ISSUES AND THEMES
The Oslo meeting, 24-28 September 1997, on "Male Roles and Masculinities in the Perspective of a Culture of Peace" arose from the work of UNESCOs program "Women and the Culture of Peace". Contemporary feminism has opened up important issues about gender and peace. Men are now invited to continue this discussion, and explore with women a new set of issues about masculinity, violence and peace.
1. Why men and masculinity are an issue for a culture of peace
It is a familiar fact that most of the worlds soldiers are men. It is men, almost exclusively, who make the decisions that launch international aggression and civil wars. It is further true that men are responsible for most crimes of violence in private life. Men rather than women are central to the symbolism of violence in mass media, sports, and political rhetoric.
In situations of sustained armed conflict, in situations where ethnic nationalism is being mobilized, and in violent racist movements, polarized models of manhood and womanhood are typical, with men encouraged to show dominance and aggression. It is common in military training all around the world to link manliness with brutality, and to discredit fear and sensitivity as unmanly.
There are, clearly, links between masculinity and violence. To recognize this is not to say that all men are violent, nor that men are naturally violent (ideas that the experts at the meeting clearly rejected). It is to pose important problems: How can men as men, as gendered beings, be drawn into the making of a culture of peace ? What alternative ways of being a man can be found ? How, especially, can violent masculinities change ?
2. Problems and pitfalls
Work on these issues among men may have to take different forms from those familiar in womens programs, and will face certain difficulties.
Highlighting issues about masculinity is easily misunderstood. It may be seen as unfairly blaming all men for violence, implying that men are evil, or that women are inherently better people. This view would lead to instant alienation of most men from any program of change. Alternatively, highlighting masculinity may be seen as a way of excusing violent men, since their behaviour is attributed to a masculinity which many believe to be "natural" and unchangeable.
In responding to these misunderstandings, the experts emphasised that the focus should be on the characteristics of social masculinity that lead men towards violence, and on the institutions and ideologies that reinforce aggressive masculinities. This neither excuses violent behaviour nor simplistically blames men, but allows a focus on the prevention of violence and the building of positive alternatives.
Moving towards gender equity and equality is an important part of the culture of peace. Cooperation and dialogue between women and men create new knowledge and positive change. Therefore programs addressed to boys and men should not compete for funding with programs for girls and women. New programs for men should not pander to the "backlash" against feminist pressure for gender equality.
There is a further problem about the prominence of Western research and concepts in the new debates on masculinity. It is important to acknowledge cultural difference and local knowledge. At the same time we must recognize the hegemony of certain Western gender arrangements in a globalizing world, and their (often disruptive) impact on non-Western cultures. Some masculinities are now operating in a global arena, while most programs of reform operate only locally. International organizations like UNESCO are vital for addressing this problem.
3. New research and policy discussions
Efforts towards a culture of peace have an important new resource in recent research and policy discussions about masculinity.
A new generation of social-scientific research on men and masculinity has emerged, in many parts of the world, in the last 10 years. This embraces studies in sociology, ethnography, history, psychology, criminology, education and other fields. Empirical research has provided new understanding of:
Such research has stimulated fresh efforts to understand gender relations and the position of men. Theorists have addressed questions of gender identity, the economic circumstances of men, and the patterns of male sexuality. This work helps to "make masculinity visible", and thus supports new practical initiatives and policy discussions.
For more than a decade there have been campaigns in a number of countries to reduce masculine violence, especially domestic violence and rape. Within the last decade, policy debates have emerged about boys education, mens health, and mens involvement in road casualties. In a few countries, issues about masculinity have begun to enter policy documents about gender in education.
Thus we have new resources of empirical knowledge, concepts, and practical experience, to assist in addressing the problem of masculinity and peace.
4. How should we understand masculinities ?
The expert group meeting discussed traditional and new ways of understanding masculinities. There was agreement that the biology of sex does not explain the issues; biological differences are biological differences, while social patterns of violence require social explanations and social solutions.
The concept of a "male sex role" is helpful in calling attention to the social learning of gender (often called "socialization), and to the stereotypes in media and culture which offer boys only narrow, aggressive models of masculinity.
However, many contributions to the meeting illustrated the need to go beyond a focus on "role" stereotypes to a broader view of gender relations and masculinities. Our understanding of masculinities must embrace economic production, power and authority, sexuality and emotions, and identities and communication. The discussion emphasised :
5. How are masculinities connected to violence ?
There are multiple causes of violence (including dispossession, poverty, greed, nationalism, racism, the concept of "honour"), and violence develops in diverse situations. There are, nevertheless, persistent connections with masculinities, including the following points.
Aggressive and dominating masculinities may be a direct source of violence. In many cases, however, gender ideologies serve as the means by which other causes of conflict are converted into violent conduct. When violent masculinities are created, mens and boys recruitment may prolong or intensify armed conflicts. In all these cases, action to change masculinities is a relevant strategy for peace.
6. What kind of change is needed ?
It is often suggested with horror that reform of gender means turning men into women: emasculating men, making men "soft", and therefore unable to compete or stand with pride in the world.
Solving the problem of violence and building a culture of peace certainly requires change in masculinities. But it does not require men to become weak or incapable. On the contrary, violence often happens because masculinities are constructed to make violence the easy option, or the only option considered.
We would emphasise that building peace is an arduous and complex undertaking, worthy of heroic effort from men as well as women. The sense of competence important to some masculinities can be linked to equality rather than exclusiveness; democracy needs skilled practitioners too.
Education cannot "re-socialize" boys and men, in the sense of pressing them into a non-violent mould (to replace the violent mould). Rather, education can open up a diversity of pathways, and allow boys and men to use a broader spectrum of their capacities - emotional, communicative, and political. Education can show boys and men a variety of ways of being a man, and allow them to experience this diversity. It can develop boys and mens capacities for non-violent action, training them in techniques of peace as they are now commonly trained in the techniques of combat.
An educational effort in this direction cannot work in isolation. It needs to be supported by action in other areas of life that will make greater diversity of experience possible for men, and non-violent conduct easier for them. This means action to reduce gender hierarchies and antagonisms across the spectrum of social life addressed in the recommendations from the meeting: the public arena, media, private sphere, workplaces, institutions.
A key example of the need for change is the essential social task of peacekeeping. This is currently performed by organizations, such as police and international peacekeeping forces, which are overwhelmingly staffed by men, have a heavily masculinized culture, and are liable to act in confrontational ways. Here there is need for change both in organizational culture and in the gender division of labour.
7. How is change accomplished ?
It is an important conclusion of recent research that there are different masculinities , not just one dominating, violent form. There are many non-violent men in the world, and men already actively involved in work to reduce violence.
The expert meeting discussed examples of mens involvement in building a culture of peace. They included both community activism and governmental programs :
Though it is still too early to design a comprehensive program of change, some significant principles have already emerged in this work :
8. Issues for the future
Serious research on issues about masculinity is relatively new, and its connection with work for peace is even newer. The meeting acknowledged that many formulations and proposals must still be tentative, open to testing in new circumstances.
Certain issues were debated in the meeting and left open. These appeared to be fruitful themes for further discussions and research:
With participants from many European countries and other continents, the Oslo meeting itself was a unique opportunity for exchange of information and ideas. It became clear that the international circulation of practical experience in peace building work with men, as well as research and writing, is an important task for the future.
The constituency for work on masculinity and peace is not just a small group of marginalized men. It is all men - and indeed all women - since gender is inter-active, and all of us participate in, and shape, the gender arrangements of society.
While the historical record of mens violence is horrifying, masculinities differ greatly and there are many points where change may begin. Many experiences in personal life show men as well as women moving towards equality and nonviolence if given the chance. As long as institutional and cultural patterns block their way, they stop. Yet even small measures to unblock the path may create considerable effects.
The recommendations from the meeting reflect this sense of many possibilities, in the wide range of topics they address. Our proposals are starting-points. To develop a comprehensive strategy requires more work, by many hands.
In this discussion, we focus on gender polarities to find how we can move beyond them. "Masculinity" does not exhaust the character of any man. What men share with women is far more than what divides them. The common humanity they share - common capacities, shared languages, shared institutions, shared interests, and shared responsibilities for children - is the most important basis for a future of peace.
III - RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The meeting of experts has agreed that work on mens issues about violence and peace can only be successful in the context of a broad movement towards gender equality and nonviolence. Accordingly we think it is essential to continue and strengthen the policies and initiatives currently being pursued to reduce violence, promote demilitarization, increase economic and political equality between women and men, combat discrimination of all kinds, promote creativity and peace related cultural manifestations and works of art, and disseminate the ideas and techniques of a culture of peace.
Within this context, we propose the following specific measures addressed to male roles and masculinities :
2. Support initiatives which stress that men as well as women have responsibility for child rearing, and encourage child rearing practices based on emotional support, empathy and nonviolence.
3. Support family planning programs which emphasize that reproductive responsibility is shared by men and women.
4. Encourage all countries to adopt state-supported paternity leave, in addition to maternity leave, and encourage trade unions, professional associations and corporations to support such policies.
5. UNESCO should support school programs by
(i) developing an international curriculum resource kit on diverse forms of masculinity and on men in relation to a culture of peace;
(ii) organizing pilot projects for teacher training in effective methods against discrimination and violence (for example sexism, homophobia and racism).
6. School systems should
(i) provide training for boys, girls and educators in conflict resolution skills, emotional expressions and inter-group communication.
(ii) develop curriculum resources and textbooks depicting nonviolent and non-aggressive behaviour of men.
7. UNESCO, through its Chair program, should support university chairs on gender issues including men and masculinities in relation to a culture of peace, and support similar action in the UNITWIN program.
8. Support community-based groups and movements which involve men and boys in exploring changes in masculinity towards a culture of peace.
9. Promote the organization of nonviolent and more cooperative sports and games.
Work and Economy
10. Encourage governments, business, and unions to develop family-friendly forms of working life, including training programs to end workplace sexual harassment.
11. Support and encourage men and women to choose non traditional jobs and reduce gender barriers in working life.
12. Encourage the development of gender-inclusive management cultures in businesses and bureaucracies (including international aid), to replace cultures of masculine dominance.
Police and Military
13. The United Nations should develop a gender-sensitive training program for the personnel of peace- keeping missions, including all functions represented in such missions.
14. Police forces should develop a gender-sensitive approach to the policing of domestic violence.
15. Military and police organizations should encourage participation by both women and men, and should include negotiation skills, gender sensivity and human rights education in the training of all personnel.
16. UNESCO should encourage all countries to offer community service work which either replaces or is an alternative to military service.
17. Promote debates on the representations of men in mass media, in video games, on the Internet, and in mass culture generally in order to create forums for community reflection on the impact of violent images of masculinity, and critical interventions to promote alternatives.
18. Government and communities should acknowledge the legitimate diversity of nonviolent sexuality, including both homosexual and heterosexual masculinities.
19. UNESCO should explore the potential of the creative arts in the construction of new masculinities and a gender-sensitive culture of peace.
Violence against women
20. Support community-based programs among men and boys to prevent violence against women (such as Canadas White Ribbon Campaign and South Africas ADAPT).
21. Encourage programs for male batterers based on accountability to women in their community.
22. UNESCO should compile an international directory of resources and mens organizations working to end violence against women.
23. Support the development of multidisciplinary studies of masculinities and male roles, especially research on the social and cultural conditions producing violent and patriarchal masculinities.
24. UNESCO should support the establishment of international consortia and networks for collaborative research in this field.
Public sector organizations
25. Encourage governments, United Nations bodies and other organizations to appoint staff specialists on masculinities and mens issues, locating them within gender-related programs and peace programs.
26. UNESCO should sponsor leaflets, articles and bibliographical resources on male roles and masculinities, and disseminate them through National Commissions for UNESCO, unions, the military, police forces and NGOs.
27. There should be follow-up to the Oslo meeting : translation and dissemination of documents, consultation with home governments and educators by participants, regional meetings, and (in a years time) re-convening on the Internet of the Oslo participants to discuss progress.
IV - ABSTRACTS OF PRESENTED PAPERS
There is overwhelming evidence that men are the main agents of violence in the modern world; and in most societies violence is culturally masculinized. New social research on masculinity is relevant to understanding this link. Masculinities exist only in structures of gender relations. These structures generate multiple forms of masculinitiy, including non-violent masculinities.
However, hierarchies among men tend to subordinate the less aggressive. Masculinities are embodied in institutions, culture and in personal life. Masculinities are dynamic and constantly changing. This gives reasons for hope, for more peaceable gender practice, though there is a risk of the emergence of more violent masculinities. New forms of masculinity are emerging, most importantly a transnational business masculinity. Also several forms of masculinity politics occur, with conflicting agendas.
Educational strategies for peace must operate across a broad terrain; and must be respectful of men while demanding substantial change of them. Men are not required to uniformly adopt a new character. Rather, effective strategies will support shifts towards a more democratic gender practice in a great diversity of situations. Useful models for such strategies already exist, and it is important to draw upon them.
Gioia Di Cristofaro Longo
The process of redefinition of female and male identities has been asymmetric: while for women it has progressed, for men it is just beginning. However, a historical process has begun which may lead to the redefinition of male identity towards a new cultural gender balance and new types of gender relations which is fundamental in the perspective of conflict resolution and a culture of peace.
The first step towards a culture of peace is overcoming discrimination and injustice against women and the creation of identity based on gender equality and values usually associated with feminine identity. Women have rediscovered maternity as a distinct but not excluding experience of their own gender, as an important "part", but not the only one, on which is based their identity as persons of female gender. It is the authors opinion that men should start thinking about reproduction as an experience which today can and must involve them more directly.
Today there is increased awareness in men that they have lost an important part of their human experience: the private and emotional sphere. It is important to bear in mind that this is a process in which men need to discover/rediscover the essential terms of masculinity defeating the cultural conditioning which originates stereotypes.
To develop a culture of peace, the underlying conditions which would favour such a development must first be established. As a culture of peace is mainly a result of interaction between human beings, and since the concept of peace to a large extent connotes egalitarian relationships, equality between men and women is a crucial condition. Inequality is a form of structural violence.
The paper discusses the relationship between gender inequality and violence or conversely between gender equality and non-violence. Furthermore, it stresses gender equality, which should be measured primarily by the level of economic parity. Recent statistics show clearly the imbalance in economic power between men and women, despite significant progress of women in education and increased participation in the labour force. A major transformation at the economic level between men and women would contribute to the construction of a culture of peace.
Øystein Gullvåg Holter
In order to promote positive changes among men, masculinities must be interpreted in their social and cultural contexts, distinguishing between the differentiation and stratification aspects of the gender system.
The paper discusses inegalitarian or patriarchal social patterns that are reflected in this system and that have contributed to mens dominance, aggression and violence.
The author argues that inegalitarian patterns must be identified in order to create room for change, a broad movement also among men themselves, towards a culture of peace.
Mens violence is rooted, not in biology, but in the imperatives of a patriarchal society. It can be seen at all levels of relations among men (from relations between nations to the sports field), between men and women, between adults and children, within economic structures, and in relation to the natural environment - a relationship which has been aptly described as rape. This violence is unconsciously internalized by men in dominant definitions of masculinity, even by that majority of men who never act violently.
Social structures of unequal power (including the traditional privileges men have enjoyed), combined with the self-imposed demands of manhood, is the landscape that shapes mens violence in its myriad forms. The struggle to end mens violence and to develop a culture of peace requires an articulated response. We must challenge the ways that patriarchal violence extends throughout the fabric of society and human interactions.
The paper starts with this framework and examines two case studies of work with boys and men to end violence against women and interpersonal violence among men. These involve working with boys within the school system and the work of the White Ribbon Campaign, now the largest effort in the world to end violence against women.
The paper explores the link between the male-dominated culture that pervades Somali society and politics and the protracted conflict and violence that have devastated Somalia. It outlines the foundations of Somali culture, with a view to underline the dominant position that men occupy in Somali society and how that dominance manifests itself and in what domain. The paper asserts that the Somali culture, which is based on three traditions: the clan system, Islam and Western influence, is unequivocally and unashamedly masculine. It marginalizes and at times excludes women in all aspects of public life: social, economic and political.
The paper also asserts that the Somali culture embodies a culture of peace which can be tapped to inspire and underpin the process towards a culture of peace. The Somali women symbolise the dormant culture of peace that exists within the Somali culture. The paper concludes with the suggestion that efforts aimed at assisting the Somali society in building a broader culture of peace should start with the Somalis and within the Somali culture.
The paper explores the links between micro and macro institutional levels of the origin of mens violence; drawing on examples of ethnic nationalist movements and domestic violence. The author suggests that the origin of violence lies not in mens experience of power (an expression of dominance and power as manifest), but rather in mens dual experience of feelings of powerlessness and their sense of their entitlement to power. Such an analysis leads to the identification of which men are most likely to join ethnic nationalist movements (younger lower middle class) and to commit acts of violence against women (those who feel their domestic entitlement dissolving).
The author then turns to a discussion of those cultures in which mens violence, micro + macro, is exceptionally low. What emerged from cross-cultural research is that violence is lowest under specific cultural configurations of male-female relationships, high levels of womens autonomy with specific definitions of masculinity, which includes high levels of male participation in child care prevail.
Using Israel as a case study, the findings support the suggestion that societies challenged by an environmental threat such as frequent warfare tend to be dominated by men and to develop a masculine oriented legitimating ethos.
The military in Israel is the main agent of society shaping gender roles, constructing masculinity as a military masculinity, and is thus the main source of maintaining gender inequality. The zionist ethos of masculine ideals of physical force and strength as a reaction to the long history of persecution of the Jewish people, intensified because of the Shoah, is engraved in Jewish Israeli society. Signs of weakness
are regarded as threats to the male identity. The political situation in the Jewish-Arab conflict intensified this process.
In societies in a state of conflict and war, demands for unity are the main reason to drop the question of gender equality off the agenda. The high participation of women in the peace movement can be explained by the connection between armed conflict and militarization of society and gender inequality.
According to the author, demilitarisation of society must be the main goal. As the siege-mentality is leading to militarisation and thus to a hegemonic masculinity, dismantling the siege-mentality would therefore be an aim. Transformation of society from siege-mentality to universal principles; from military logic to civil logic; and from fighter masculinity to a multidimensional masculinity.
The presentation focused on how gender issues are reflected in different phases of the training of the Swedish armed forces:
Step 1: Basic training of officers
The impression one gets, at least from government media release, is that post-Apartheid South Africa is, in terms of gender, one of the most progressive countries in the world. While there is some substance to this claim, the reality is somewhat different. Despite having a new constitution which statutorily prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation, there are high rates of violent crime and sexual harassment within the country and male power remains entrenched.
The paper examines the impact on men of policies designed to facilitate womens advancement. It argues that changes in patriarchy are occurring but that these are being contested. Within the government, different versions of a desired masculinity are advanced, and amongst the population there are widely varying responses to the changed social, political and economic conditions. Masculinities for peace are emerging and can be found in widely differing forms and places: in the role model of Nobel peace prize winner, Nelson Mandela, and amongst reformed, ex-girlfriend-beating township youth. The most beneficial effects on masculinity and hence long-term results for peace are likely to accrue from a number of different initiatives and not from one, rigid model of masculinity or state prescription of mens roles.
It is very probable that a significant penetration of women into public life and other fields that are regarded as classically masculine, can be expected in future. That will probably enable the adoption of a different vision, different approach and perspective to the issues of violence, war and peace. It would certainly release men from the pressure that only they are to bear responsibility for defence, conflicts and other issues of war and security. On the other hand it would deprive women of their "privileged status" of passivity in their resolution of conflicts without struggle.
The author argues that the expected equal participation of women both in public life and in fields that are regarded as typically masculine is not a guarantee that the traditional approach to violence would be changed. Nobody can guarantee that women will be oriented to peace after they achieve equal positions with men in public life. We shall be trapped once more in stereotypes if we assume in advance that a woman is more passive and peaceful by nature than a man; or that she is more inclined to peaceful resolution of conflicts.
The author is of the opinion that the different views of men and women in relation to war and peace issues are due to the different social status of the male and female persons in society, and cannot be attributed to some psychological characteristics immanent in the sexes.
Masculinity as a post-Soviet gender relations discourse has to be analysed in historical terms. Hidden patriarchal gender politics in the Soviet regime resulted in a common belief in mens emasculation and effeminacy because of sex equality politics. It is popularly believed that mens historical sense of themselves was lost and had to be restored.
Social relations today are very much determined by masculine ideology and attitudes related to nationalist fundamentalism. Anti-feminism is also present in the post-Soviet societies. The construction and production of masculinity is a hybrid of the traditional and masculine practices, values and images, connected with replacing a recipient economy with a market economy. Nationalist-populist masculine projects range from public representations of the unknown soldier, saviour of the planet, the image of a strong and brave man to the hero of new technologies.
The author also enquires into womens positions, and influences on masculinity constructions and reproductions. A reading of womens autobiographical narratives about the politics of motherhood in the matrix of Soviet warfare ideology of masculinity and feminity constructions is part of this endeavour. Examples include Elena Rzhevskays "A Distant Rumble" (1950s), which broke the rules of the canon of war memoirs, and the taboo around "sacral" myths about war, and Svetlana Alekslevichs "Zinky Boys" (late 1980s) which shattered the collective identity of the army at war. The voiced experiences may help to understand why many women today want only the right to forget the experience of activism, they want to play the virtuous role of wife and mother.
The paper gives examples of how men can be seen from a gender perspective and presents problems that arise when we want to make questions about mens roles visible in politics. According to the author, his contribution should be understood in the context of the Nordic countries, where large sections of the economy are part of the mixed economic system and where it is acceptable that the state use certain of its instruments to further a policy of gender equality.
Central to the question of a culture of peace is the question of equality between the sexes. Inequality and discrimination against women lead to strife whilst a gender perspective throws light on the problems of aggression and violence.
The paper also focuses on different aspects of mens lives, the way boys are brought up, dominant forms of masculinity, and not least, the absence of care-giving responsibilities in the lives of many men. These issues are relevant to the development of new ways of being a man and will play a decisive part in the development of a culture of peace.
The possibility for and willingness of men to take independent responsibility for caring for their children and to take a critical view of the, at times, insatiable demands of working life, are two fundamental aspects of mens process of change. Practical care is part of creating new forms of masculinity. These forms of masculinity are, to a greater degree, able to perceive the childrens needs.
Being with a child provides basic training in communication with an understanding for other peoples needs. New masculine roles linked with care-giving, can be an important safeguard against some of the rawest forms of capitalism. Men who practice care-giving will therefore provide an important basis for a culture of peace.
Daniel Ríos Pineda
The author underlined that we must aspire to creating processes of socialization of the new generations within a framework of gender sensitivity where the culture of peace prevails over violence (against women, children and other men) without discrimination, establishing relations of equality and justice, not only in the rights recognized by the State for their citizens, but also in daily life, in schools, workplaces and within the Government.
Respecting the efforts of recent years by various organizations, the roles of women and gender equality have come to the forefront of the discussion world-wide. Specific policies regarding women have been established, these efforts are important but they limit themselves to the public sphere, while in the private sphere, in the family, the values they claim to be eradicating, are reproduced.
The hypothesis of the paper is that gender roles and differentiations, perceptions of equality or inequality, acceptance or discrimination, dominance or submission, have their roots in the early socialization process within the family. Taking place within the context of a particular society and culture, patterns of upbringing children, of young boys and girls, are the result of parental norms and expectations.
Human beings are the product of their relationships with significant others in their lives, in their early socialization within the family, as well as in later interactions in adult society. Personality develops within the matrix of the interpersonal experiences of an individual, in early and adult life. Change in values, attitudes and behaviour can take place through meaningful experiences and interaction with others, such as in experiential values education programs for the military and police forces.
Identification and reinforcement of cultural norms, values and practices that are gender-sensitive and supportive of a culture of peace during the individuals early socialization in the family and later in adult life can be components of the strategies and approaches for a holistic and transformational education towards tolerance, justice and peace.
Men, particularly in the developing world, often perceive changes in their roles as being negative, since it makes them feel that they lose their long admired unique roles as breadwinners and protectors. Based on research in Sub-Saharan Africa, it was revealed that, traditionally, having many children with several wives and girlfriends has been perceived as a prestigious status symbol of manhood. At present, family planning campaigns stigmatize such behaviour as irresponsible and AIDS has made womanizing very dangerous.
The author argues that in the developing world men often face a troublesome identity crisis. They are at a loss as to how to define themselves and how to validate their masculinity. How are they to ensure that their identity is separate, different from that of women ? They are at a loss as to how to define themselves in order to be admired, esteemed, needed and loved.
In view of this profound identity crisis and the feelings of being socially and economically downgraded, the majority of African men tend to turn more and more to "revolutionary" activities including bloody political and ethnic conflicts that have swelled the ranks of the armed forces. According to the author, violence and war seem to be mens last resort, especially for the majority of poor, unemployed and uneducated men.
The author further argues that it is very difficult to make valid recommendations for effective change. First, such recommendations have to be cost-effective so that they can be implemented also in countries with low budgets. Second, they must have the potential of being implemented so as to reach the target group : the poor, uneducated men. Third, they have to include the provision of an income in addition to the psychological basis for the validation of new masculinity.
The history of the USSR shows that progressive ideology without practical work cannot change patriarchal reality. Such was the case for equality between the sexes, as a constitutional right, which was never realized in actual life. The collapse of the Soviet Union also revealed that underneath the weighty surface of communist ideology lay other ideological systems equally ridden with patriarchal intent.
But the situation is far from static - it is changing constantly. In 1993, the first coordinated services for women in crisis began to appear in Moscow and St. Petersburg, followed by a surge of hotlines and support groups in cities across Russia. Due to the pioneering work of these first centres and increased attention to womens issues in general, violence against women in Russia is beginning to be discussed on a societal level. The Russian womens liberation movement is growing ever-stronger, and men can no longer ignore this fact. The first mens groups - supporters for the womens movement - are appearing in Russia.
During the recent war in Yugoslavia, foreign academics, researchers and political analysts - not to mention journalists - often had difficulties in understanding the behaviour of individuals, state representatives, ethnic and social groups. Misunderstandings and insufficient information led to new stereotypes.
The paper draws attention to some less known types of traditional cultural behaviour among malefolk in the Balkans. Reevaluation of traditional types of cultural inter-gender relationships has already been under way among pacifist groups in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and among Albanians in the region of Kosovo, shortly before and during the war. The author discusses the phenomena observed around three main traditional activities of malefolk in the Balkans: hunting, ruling and sacrificing.
Research in the domain of ancient anthropology has demonstrated that, in Antiquity, male citizen identity was constructed and self-identifiable not only in the state and its institutions (army, parliament, agora, public ritual, theatre), but also on the somewhat less structured margins like hunting and private rituals. Many types of behaviour displayed by men-warriors during the recent war in former Yugoslavia can be traced back to their hunting-habits: unorganized paramilitary actions, taking of prisoners to show-off, taking/raping of women as signs of provisory possession over the territory, hunting games and intensive communication with the opponents/enemies and interdiction taboos against touching special "prey" individuals, social groups or women from specific ethnic or social groups.
The paper explores two issues. One is the effect of mens near monopoly on societys legitimate force, i.e. the police and the military. The second is how best to ensure that police and military personnel, in fact, protect all members of the community and do not themselves become a threat/menace.
It is argued that a military and police which are "neither male nor female" will help to break the link between masculinity and violence, that it will enhance the performance of both organizations by giving them more breadth of perspective and a wider range of skills and that it will make women more responsible citizens if they do not just dismiss police and military as "mens business".
The problem of ensuring that protective forces do not become executioners requires careful consideration of the recruitment, of the training, and of policies guiding the actions of the police and the military. It is essential that women be full participants in the shaping of such policies.
According to the author, power is the one aspect all variants of masculinity have in common, not necessarily as the real possession of power, but rather as a "demand for dominance" or an "entitlement to power". Masculinity is an identity; but identity should not be understood as the essential core of a person, but as the effect of practices. Masculinity then is the notion and practice of identity as power/dominance. Yet this is true not only in the relation between men and women, but also between different ethnicities. Racism, in fact, can similarly be described as a "demand for dominance", and as such it usually is combined with a notion of masculinity.
A policy against violence therefore should not be aimed at shaping the character of men, but their practices, and it should consider all relations of dominance. One strategy to further a culture of peace therefore is an "ethics of difference", one that allows us to respect the otherness and to recognize the sameness of (gender, ethnic,...) others - a sameness understood, not as some universal humanness, but as the possibility for a process of negotiation.
This paper begins by interrogating the question "how to change the traditional male approach to international politics" by challenging two assumptions embedded in this question: one about the subject of the "male"; one about the subject of "international politics". The author goes on to suggest that it makes more sense to talk about "masculinities" in international politics which has the result that our understandings about "male roles" become more complicated. An uncomplicated understanding tends to lead to simplistic views about what the effects of masculinities are in international politics.
To demonstrate some of these complexities, the paper briefly discusses four different kinds of "masculine behaviours" - raising questions about the different ways one can be a "woman" or be a "man" in the practices of international politics - two of these from "real world" examples and two from cinema.
This paper ends with a discussion of the wider context that thinking about "male roles and masculinities" should be involved in - namely the hierarchical structuring of gender and sexualities. Concluding with the question "can masculinity be terminated ?", the author recommends that education about gender (in the wide sense) be made compulsory.
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