Corporate Masculinity and the global context: a case study of conservative gender dynamics

Research on masculinity is now worldwide, offering us rich bases for understanding masculinities in global arenas. The issue of globalization has increasingly come into focus in gender studies, and research on masculinity specifically. This paper shows the usefulness of a life-history approach to understanding gender, based ultimately on psychoanalysis though modified for use in social-scientific field work. A case study from the Australian part of a multi-country study of corporate masculinities is presented. It concerns a middle-aged manager in the construction industry, who reveals a conservative form of hegemonic masculinity. This was fostered in his family of origin, in his education and in the heavily-masculinized construction industry. His managerial labour process is a kind of bricolage of negotiations and relationships that are more local and concrete than abstract and globalized. This pattern of masculinity is articulated with the global economy but does not exactly reproduce the hegemonic masculinity of transnational corporations, which are by contrast marked by high levels of education and technological involvement. Two sites of contradiction in this manager's life, i.e. his embodiment and his family relations, are identified, which may cause problems for the smooth management of his life. There is also in the interview a curious moment of utopia that calls into question his gender project.

Hegemonic Masculinity; Transnational Corporations; Managers; Embodiment; Family; Gender Relations


Núcleo de Estudos de Gênero - Pagu Universidade Estadual de Campinas, PAGU Cidade Universitária "Zeferino Vaz", Rua Cora Coralina, 100, 13083-896, Campinas - São Paulo - Brasil, Tel.: (55 19) 3521 7873, (55 19) 3521 1704 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
E-mail: cadpagu@unicamp.br