It Could Be Otherwise - Conceptions of Masculinity Within and Beyond the Framework of Traditional Masculinity Studies
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In the present thesis, I am tracing back the evolution of contemporary masculinity studies as an academic field and scrutinize one of its main concepts, ‘hegemonic masculinity’. Pointing to the weaknesses of this concept leads to more general critique towards the field, namely the marginalization of men’s individual subjectivities and the use of essentialist notions of masculinity, predominantly the idea that masculinity necessarily relies on the male body. By taking queer theorists’ critiques of these notions into account, I am advocating the, so far only rudimentary present, implementation of poststructural theory and interdisciplinary approaches for masculinity studies’ further development. In order to demonstrate the utility of these approches for masculinity studies, I extract three tools of Judith Butler’s writings on performativity, namely the performative notion of gender, the heterosexual matrix and the historical specificity of gender, and engage them in a twisted reading of David Fincher’s movie Fight Club. This exercise shows how the rather sociologically oriented masculinity studies could benefit from this kind of analysis and deconstructs the ‘masculinity in crisis’ discourse at the same time.