Gender in Transition

  • Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 10)


Social and economic changes, analyzed in the previous chapter, have had significant impact on gender relationships and women’ s vulnerability to violence. However, as in Western societies, the relationships between changes in social and economic status and violence against women are rarely direct. Rather these relationships are mediated by stress, frustrations and/or changes in gender and other identities (ethnic, generation, class).


Gender Identity Hegemonic Masculinity Gender Division Vietnam Veteran Traditional Masculinity 
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    H. Szilvia and P. Lajos “Szabadsag a rend keretei kozott” (Liberty among the framework of social order), Nepszabadsag, March 3, 1999, p. 9Google Scholar
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    With the exception of Serbia, where the rejection of western values and nationalism/war discourse was used to intensify the traditional gender images. However, interestingly, after changes in Serbia in 2000 (at least immediately after them), normalisation and westernisation developed the opposite meaning which, in regard to gender, may be described as emancipatory discourse (e.g. media’s reaction to sexual harassment accusations of the leader of one of the parties from the ruling coalition in May, 2001 )Google Scholar
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    The former Yugoslavia, (which both Serbia and Macedonia were part of), was in some way the exception, since rare soft porn magazines started to come out already in the early 1970’s. This was a consequence of less strictly applied legal regulations as well as of the fact that the former Yugoslavia was more open toward the West.Google Scholar
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    For more details about that see Nikolic-Ristanovic, 2001, p.284–295Google Scholar
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    A similar effect was already noticed in other societies where the context changed markedly, leading to class stratification development (Connell, 1987:125).Google Scholar
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    As Messerschmidt puts it, “because femininities are constructed in the context of gender relations of power, femininities are polarised around accommodation or resistance to masculine dominance. Forms of femininity sustain themselves in contrast to one another and to situationally specific types of masculinity under which they are subordinated.” Thus femininity can be understood only as a relational construct. ( Messerschmidt, 1995: 173 ).Google Scholar
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    According to Connell, transnational business masculinity is a hegemonic form of masculinity in the current world gender order, which is “associated with those who control its dominant institutions: the business executives who operate in global markets, and the political executives who interact (and in many contexts, merge) with them” (Connell, 2001:65)Google Scholar
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    It is worth mentioning that among some ethnic minorities, such as Albanians, Bulgarian Muslims and Turks, hegemonic masculinity has always been present as part of the tradition and only recently started to change among young generations of some men and women. Among Albanians, for example, even during communism it was quite usual that men worked abroad. In such a way they earned a lot of money and were able to support their large families, while their wives were rigorously limited to the household and child bearing (Coneva, interview, 1999; UNDP, 1998: 21 ).Google Scholar
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    These attempts, however, do not coincide always since many women are not in the sex industry because they identify themselves as sex objects but rather because they are identified in that way by others (e.g. young girls who are forced into prostitution by their partners, parents or traffickers).Google Scholar
  10. 70.
    In order to assure consistency in analyses, I use a term marginalization here in the same way as Connell: to refer to the relations between the masculinities in the dominant and subordinated classes or ethnic groups. In that sense, marginalization is always relative to the authorisation of the hegemonic masculinity of the dominant group (Connell, 1995:81). Another term, which may be used as well, is troubled masculinity, introduced by Hearn (Hearn, 1998: 39 ).Google Scholar
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    It is interesting that this kind of marginalised masculinity is especially ephasised by Macedonian respondents (both men and women), who explained it by “the coming matriarchy, emancipation or increased aggessiveness of women”.Google Scholar
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    According to Gelles, status incompatibility is when the husband, who society expects to be the head of the family, has less education and a poorer job than his wife (Gelles, 1997)Google Scholar
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    For similar findings in UK see Coffield, 1987:93.Google Scholar
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    This was additionally emphasised by the fact that many of them really had close or distant relatives, acquaintances or friends there as well as by reviving atrocities committed to their families in the past.Google Scholar
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    For example, the experiences of Women in Black from Belgrade, who supported men who wanted to desert from the military, showed that women are (Alen victims of abuse by the same men they helped to avoid military service (Zajovic, 1995:174)Google Scholar
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    For similar experiences of Vietnam veteran wives see Mitsakis, 1996:130, and for women in the Germany after World War II, Moeller, 1993:9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Criminological and Sociological ResearchBelgradeSerbia

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