Constructing hegemonic masculinities in South Africa

The discourse and rhetoric of heteronormativity

Authors

  • Russell Luyt University of Winchester

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v6i1.47

Keywords:

discourse, hegemonic masculinities, heteronormativity, rhetoric, South Africa

Abstract

This paper considers how local and regional representations of hegemonic masculinity are (re)produced, and how men’s gender identities are constituted through situated interaction in South Africa. It points toward the important role played by the discourse and rhetoric of heteronormativity among these men in hegemonic sense-making, and in particular, the underlying discursive practices of performative/intimate (hetero)sexuality and homosexual rejection/acceptance. An attempt is made to account for complexity and diversity in this sense-making across intersecting social categories such as ethnicity and social class. Focus group discussion among Afrikaans, English and Xhosa men was transcribed and backtranslated where necessary. A technique of discourse analysis that considers the rhetorical aspects of text is developed through the introduction of norm-referencing rhetorical devices. Findings highlight the extent to which practices of both compliance and resistance contribute toward the (re)production of masculinities.

Author Biography

Russell Luyt, University of Winchester

Russell Luyt is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Winchester. He is particularly interested in identity processes as well as debates concerning research philosophy and qualitative methodology. His work is grounded within a critical perspective and has to date focused primarily on the social psychology of gender. This has included, for example, the critique of traditional masculinity, femininity and gender measurement; media representations; masculinities and aggression; as well as the intersection of gender and other social categories in SA. He is currently extending these lines of research and developing his interest in radicalisation among marginalised communities from a gender perspective.

References

Allen, L. (2003) Girls want sex, boys want love: resisting dominant discourses of (hetero)sexuality. Sexualities 6: 215–36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363460703006002004

Austin, J. (1962) How to Do Th ings with Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ballinger, C. and Payne, S. (2000) Discourse analysis: principles, applications and critique. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 63: 567–72.

Bartky, S. L. (1990) Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge.

Beinart, W. (2001) Twentieth-Century South Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Billig, M. (1987) Arguing and Th inking: A Rhetorical Approach to Social Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Billig, M. (1997) Th e dialogic unconscious: psychoanalysis, discursive psychology and the nature of repression. British Journal of Social Psychology 36: 139–59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.1997.tb01124.x

Billig, M. (1998) Rhetorical and discursive analysis: how families talk about the royal family. In N. Hayes (ed.) Doing Qualitative Analysis in Psychology 39–54. Hove: Psychology Press.

Bowleg, L. (2004) Love, sex, and masculinity in sociocultural context: HIV concerns and condom use among African American men in heterosexual relationships. Men & Masculinities 7: 166–86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1097184X03257523

Boyarin, D. (1997) Unheroic Conduct: Th e Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.

Brislin, R. W. (2000) Back-translation. In A. E. Kazdin (ed.) Encyclopedia of Psychology 359–360. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Cameron, D. (1997) Performing gender identity: young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity. In S. Johnson and U.H. Meinhof (eds) Language and Masculinity 4–64. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Campbell, C. (1997) Migrancy, masculine identities and AIDS: the psychosocial context of HIV transmission on the South African gold mines. Social Science and Medicine 45: 273–82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(96)00343-7

Campbell, C. (2001) ‘Going underground and going after women’: masculinity and HIV transmission amongst black workers on the mines. In R. Morrell (ed.) Changing Men in Southern Africa 275–86. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.

Cheng, C. (2007) Marginalized masculinities and hegemonic masculinity: an introduction. Journal of Men’s Studies 7: 295–315. http://dx.doi.org/10.3149/jms.0703.295

Connell, R. W. (1987) Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Connell, R. W. (1992) A very straight gay: masculinity, homosexual experience, and the dynamics of gender. American Sociological Review 57: 735–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2096120

Connell, R. W. (1993) Th e big picture: masculinities in recent world history. Th eory and Society 22: 597–623. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00993538

Connell, R. W. (1995) Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Connell, R. W. (2002) On hegemonic masculinity and violence: response to Je? erson and Hall. Th eoretical Criminology 6: 89–99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/136248060200600104

Connell, R. W. and Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005) Hegemonic masculinity: rethinking the concept. Gender & Society 19: 829–59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0891243205278639

Cooper, A. (2009) ‘Gevaarlike transitions’: negotiating hegemonic masculinity and rites of passage amongst coloured boys awaiting trial on the Cape Flats. Psychology in Society 37: 1–17.

Donaldson, M. (1993) What is hegemonic masculinity? Th eory and Society 22: 643–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00993540

Donham, D. L. (1998) Freeing South Africa: Th e ‘modernization’ of male-male sexuality in Soweto. Cultural Anthropology 13: 3–21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/can.1998.13.1.3

Edley, N. (2001) Conversation analysis, discursive psychology and the study of ideology: a response to Susan Speer. Feminism & Psychology 11: 136–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353501011001007

Edley, N. and Litosseliti, L. (2010) Contemplating interviews and focus groups. In L. Litosseliti (ed.) Research Methods in Linguistics 155–79. London: Continuum.

Edley, N. and Wetherell, M. (1996) Masculinity, power and identity. In M. Mac-an-Ghaill (ed) Understanding Masculinities: Social Relations and Cultural Arenas 97–114. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Edley, N. and Wetherell, M. (1997) Jockeying for position: the construction of masculine identities. Discourse & Society 8: 203–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926597008002004

Edley, N. and Wetherell, M. (2008) Discursive psychology and the study of gender: a contested space. In K. Harrington, L. Litosseliti, H. Sauntson and J. Sunderland (eds) Gender and Language Research Methodologies 161–73. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Edwards, D. and Potter, J. (1992) Discursive Psychology. London: Sage Publications.

Epprecht, M. (2002) Male-male sexuality in Lesotho: two conversations. Journal of Men’s Studies 10: 373–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.3149/jms.1003.373

Fairclough, N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: Th e Critical Study of Language. London: Longman.

Foucault, M. (1978) Th e History of Sexuality. Trans. R. Hurley, Vol. 1. Harmonsworth: Penguin.

Gar?nkel, H. (1967) Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cli? s, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gavey, N. (1997) Feminist poststructuralism and discourse analysis. In M. M. Gergen and S. N. Davis (eds) Toward a New Psychology of Gender 49–64. New York, NY: Routledge.

Goswami, N. (2008) Autophagia and queer transnationality: compulsory heteroimperial masculinity in Deepa Mehta’s Fire. Signs 33: 343–69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/521052

Gough, B. and Edwards, G. (1998) Th e beer talking: four lads, a carry out and the reproduction of masculinities. Sociological Review 46: 409–35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.00125

Grazian, D. (2007) Th e girl hunt: urban nightlife and the performance of masculinity as collective activity. Symbolic Interaction 30: 221–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/si.2007.30.2.221

Hall, S. (2002) Daubing the drudges of fury: men, violence and the piety of the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ thesis. Th eoretical Criminology 6: 35–61.

Hearn, J. (2004) From hegemonic masculinity to the hegemony of men. Feminist Th eory 5: 49–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1464700104040813

Hutchby, I. and Woo? tt, R. (1998) Conversation Analysis: Principles, Practices and Applications. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Je?erson, G. (1984) Transcription notation. In J. Atkinson and J. Heritage (eds) Structures of Social Interaction ix–xvi. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Je?erson, T. (2002) Subordinating hegemonic masculinity. Th eoretical Criminology 6: 63–88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/136248060200600103

Jewkes, R. and Morrell, R. (2010) Gender and sexuality: emerging perspectives from the heterosexual epidemic in South Africa and implications for HIV risk and prevention. Journal of the International AIDS Society 13: 1–11.

Jørgensen, M. and Phillips, L. (2002) Discourse Analysis: As Th eory and Method. London: Sage Publications.

Kiesling, S.F. (2006) Playing the straight men: displaying and maintaining male heterosexuality in discourse. In D. Cameron and D. Kulick (eds) Th e Language and Sexuality Reader 118–131. London: Routledge.

Kitzinger, C. (2001) Sexualities. In R. K. Unger (ed.) Handbook of the Psychology of Women and Gender 272–85. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Kitzinger, C. (2006) Speaking as a heterosexual: (how) does sexuality matter for talk-in-interaction. In D. Cameron and D. Kulick (eds) Th e Language and Sexuality Reader 169–88. London: Routledge.

Kitzinger, C. (2008) Conversation analysis: technical matters for gender research. In K. Harrington, L. Litosseliti, H. Sauntson and J. Sunderland (eds) Gender and Language Research Methodologies 119–38. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Light, R. and Kirk, D. (2000) High school rugby, the body and the reproduction of hegemonic masculinity. Sport, Education and Society 5: 163–76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713696032

Louw, R. (2001) Mkhumbane and new traditions of (un)African same-sex weddings. In R. Morrell (ed.) Changing Men in Southern Africa 287–96. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.

Luyt, R. (2003) Rhetorical representations of masculinities in South Africa: moving towards a material-discursive understanding of men. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 13: 46–69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/casp.706

Luyt, R. (2005) Th e Male Attitude Norms Inventory–II: a measure of masculinity ideology in South Africa. Men and Masculinities 8: 208–29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1097184X04264631

Luyt, R. (2011) Representation of gender in South African television advertising: a content analysis. Sex Roles 65: 356–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-0027-0

Luyt, R. (in press) Representation of masculinities and race in South African television advertising: a content analysis. Journal of Gender Studies.

Martino, W. J. (2008) Male teachers as role models: addressing issues of masculinity, pedagogy and the re-masculinization of schooling. Curriculum Inquiry 38: 189–223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-873X.2007.00405.x

Marx, K. (1867–1894, 1981) Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Vols 1–3). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

McClendon, T. V. (1995) Tradition and domestic struggle in the courtroom. International Journal of African Historical Studies 28: 527–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/221173

Msibi, T. (2009) Not crossing the line: masculinities and homophobic violence in South Africa. Agenda 80: 50–54.

Neuman, W. L. (1997) Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Pomerantz, A. (1986) Extreme case formulations: a way of legitimizing claims. Human Studies 9: 219–29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00148128

Potter, J. (1998) Discursive social psychology: from attitudes to evaluative practices. European Review of Social Psychology 9: 233–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14792779843000090

Potter, J. and Wetherell, M. (2001) Discourse analysis. In J. A. Smith, R. Harré and L. van Langenhove (eds) Rethinking Methods in Psychology 80–92. London: Sage Publications.

Potter, J. and Wetherell, M. (2005) Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London: Sage Publications.

Paechter, C. (2001) Using poststructuralist ideas in gender theory and research. In B. Francis and C. Skelton (eds) Investigating Gender: Contemporary Perspectives in Education 41–51. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Radley, A. and Billig, M. (1996) Accounts of health and illness: dilemmas and representations. Sociology of Health and Illness 18: 220–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.ep10934984

Ragnarsson, A., Onya, H. E., Th orson, A., Ekström, A. M. and Aarø, L.E. (2008) Young males’ gendered sexuality in the era of HIV and AIDS in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Qualitative Health Research 18: 739–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049732308318373

Reeser, T.W. (2010) Masculinities in Th eory: An Introduction. Oxford: WileyBlackwell. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781444317312

Rich, A. (1980) Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. Signs 5: 631–60. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/493756

Rogers, A. (2005) Chaos to control: men’s magazines and the mastering of intimacy. Men & Masculinities 8: 175–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1097184X04265319

Sacks, H. (1964–1965, 1992) Lectures on Conversation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Schippers, M. (2007) Recovering the feminine other: masculinity, femininity, and gender hegemony. Th eory and Society 36: 85–102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11186-007-9022-4

Speer, S. A. (2001) Reconsidering the concept of hegemonic masculinity: discursive psychology, conversation analysis and participants’ orientations. Feminism & Psychology 11: 107–135. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353501011001006

Swart, S. (2001) ‘Man, gun, and horse’: hard right Afrikaner masculine identity in post-Apartheid South Africa. In R. Morrell (ed.) Changing Men in Southern Africa 75–89. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.

Swart, S. (2004) ‘Men of in? uence’: the ontology of leadership in the 1914 Boer Rebellion. Journal of Historical Sociology 17: 1–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0952-1909.2004.00224.x

Swartz, L. (1998) Culture and Mental Health: A Southern African View. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

van Zyl, M. (2011) Are same-sex marriages unAfrican? Same-sex relationships and belonging in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Social Issues 67: 335–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01701.x

Visser, G. (2003) Gay men, tourism and urban space: re? ections on Africa’s ‘gay capital’. Tourism Geographies 5: 168–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461668032000068261

Wetherell, M. (2001) Debates in discourse research. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor and S. J. Yates (eds) Discourse Th eory and Practice: A Reader 380–99. London: Sage Publications.

Wetherell, M. and Edley, N. (1999) Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: imaginary positions and psycho-discursive practices. Feminism & Psychology 9: 335–56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353599009003012

Whitehead, S. (1999) Hegemonic masculinity revisited. Gender, Work & Organization 6: 58–62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0432.00069

Wilkinson, S. (1998) Focus groups in feminist research: power, interaction, and the co-construction of meaning. Women’s Studies International Forum 21: 111–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-5395(97)00080-0

Wilkinson, S. (2001) Th eoretical perspectives on women and gender. In R. K. Unger (ed.) Handbook of the Psychology of Women and Gender 17–28. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Woo? tt, R. (2005) Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis: A Comparative and Critical Introduction. London: Sage Publications.

Wood, L. A. and Kroger, R. O. (2000) Doing Discourse Analysis. Th ousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Published

2012-04-30

How to Cite

Luyt, R. (2012). Constructing hegemonic masculinities in South Africa: The discourse and rhetoric of heteronormativity. Gender and Language, 6(1), 47–77. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v6i1.47

Issue

Section

Gender and Language in Sub-Saharan African Contexts: Research Agendas