Theory and Society

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 303–318 | Cite as

Masculinities in global perspective: hegemony, contestation, and changing structures of power

  • Raewyn Connell


The relation between hegemony and masculinity needs reassessment in the light of postcolonial critique. A fully historical understanding of hegemony is required. The violence of colonization set up a double movement, disrupting gender orders and launching new hegemonic projects. This dynamic can be traced in changing forms through the eras of decolonization, postcolonial development, and neoliberal globalization. Specific configurations of masculinity in the contemporary metropole-apparatus can be traced, together with their relations with local power. A gender order is emerging in transnational space and minimal conditions for hegemony within it can be defined. Counter-hegemonic projects among men have multiplied but have limited reach. Hegemony under construction, rather than achieved hegemony, is the key concept.


Coloniality Gender Globalization Hegemony Masculinity Neoliberalism 



This article is the complete statement of an argument I have been developing over a number of years, most recently presented in keynote addresses to the conferences “Les masculinités au prisme de l’hégémonie,” École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, 13 June 2013, and “Emerging ideas in masculinity research—Masculinity studies in the North,” Nordic Association for Research on Men and Masculinities, Reykjavik, 4 June 2014. Those addresses have been published as “Hégémonie, masculinité, colonialité,” Genre, sexualité & société, no. 13, Spring 2015, article 3429, and “Margin becoming centre: for a world-centred rethinking of masculinities,” NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, 2014, vol. 9 no. 4, 217-231. I am grateful to the colleagues who took part in the conferences and gave feedback on the material. Part of this research was funded by a Discovery grant from the Australian Research Council. I am deeply grateful to the people with whom I have worked on these ideas over the years, especially the late Tim Carrigan and John Lee, my co-authors on the 1985 paper; Norm Radican, Robert Morrell, James Messerschmidt, Taga Futoshi, and José Olavarría. Teresa Valdés, Radhika Chopra, Mara Viveros, and Kylie Benton-Connell gave key insights and support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education & Social WorkUniversity of SydneyNSWAustralia

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