Critical Studies of Men and Masculinities (CSM) and reproduction research with men: rationale, limitations and opportunities’
Reproductive timing is a topic of growing interest within social science research. However, the majority of research to date has been conducted with women; this overemphasises female responsibility and implicates women’s behaviours in ‘problems’ of delayed childbearing, leaving men’s positions and behaviours neglected. This paper presents early considerations from a PhD study into men’s perceptions and intentions regarding reproductive timings. Undertaking reproduction research with men requires careful consideration regarding philosophical and epistemological positioning. Feminist theory and CSM - which arises from feminist theory, involves the study of the gendered nature of men’s lives and seeks to challenge hegemonic masculinity and gender power relations - offer sophisticated and appropriate theoretical frameworks for such research. However, CSM does have limitations, including a paucity of methodological reflection and guidance. In addition, there is a particular absence of literature which considers its use in reproduction research. Applying CSM in reproduction research also raises important questions about political alignment: does the application of feminist-aligned CSM in this area of research further marginalise men’s position in the female domain of reproduction? Is there scope for the ‘critical’ element of CSM to be extended to exploring the ways in which men, like women, may varyingly experience disadvantage, inequalities and powerlessness within the gender order - something that is not explicit in current thinking in CSM? This paper seeks to explore the application of CSM in reproduction research with men in light of these limitations and questions. CSM is a relatively recent theoretical development, and as such is ripe for exploration and expansion. The paper will discuss how the proposed study hopes to contribute to the development of CSM by exploring how it might usefully be extended.
Citation : Law, C. (2016) Critical Studies of Men and Masculinities (CSM) and reproduction research with men: rationale, limitations and opportunities. paper presented to the Feminism and Gender in the Social Sciences Symposium, De Montfort University, Leicester, 17 June 2016
Research Group : Reproduction Research Group
Research Institute : Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)