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Conferences and other Events

Symposium "Anthropology of Men, Masculinities and Health"


Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), 15-16.05.2009

For a long time ethnography was written by men for men and about menwithout any reference to gender hierarchies and men?s genderedsubjectivit ies. Men were treated as unmarked category or normativebaseline on which knowledge about a certain society or culture could bebuilt upon. The Feminist and Postmodern Critique challenged patriarchalsocial science and raised awareness about the situation of women withinthe gendered politics of everyday life. Subsequent to this movementthere has been a growing number of studies focusing on men as genderedsubjects, bound to construct their identity in relation to subordinatedwomen and femininities, as well as in opposition to a number ofmarginalized ?other? masculinities. Ethnography has played a pivotalrole in demonstrating the cross-cultural variance in models for and ofmanhood, and in recognizing the intersections of gender identities withsocial class, ethnicity, images of "race" and sexuality. In thiscontext, major attention has been paid to discourses about divergentmodels of masculinity as historically constructed ideal typeschallenged through illness, suffering, and unemployment inpost-industrial, late-capitalist societies.

In recent times, a growing number of scholars call for a shift of focusfrom discourses about hegemonic or subordinate masculinities, towards amore intricate study of social practice including the ambiguous andcontext specific performance of manhood. While there are still certaindominant models of and for masculinity (and femininity), complex modesof switching between divergent subject positions within time and spaceare found to be at odds with monolithic identities both self-ascribedand attributed by conventional social science. Notwithstanding somenotable exceptions the embodiment of manhood in relation to thesomatisation of social relations, as well as the bodily expression ofillness and suffering are largely under-theorized. By extension littleis known about how medical technologies and public health change, if atall, male patient's and healer?s subjectivities. Although gender hasreceived significant attention in Medical Anthropology, research wasdominated by female studies. Men's health and men in medical practiceare still under-researched issues. There are few factors determiningthis state of affairs. One of them is traditionally strong connectionof Medical Anthropology to marginalized and oppressed groups, andfeminist critique. Another factor is various masculinity idealsthroughout the world that influence men's mutedness in the context ofillness, pain and suffering. This has also a negative impact onconventional methodologies in Medical Anthropology.

We are looking for papers that will offer fresh and various approachesto manhood and masculinity in the context of health, theory,methodology and practice. For purposes of this symposium and a plannedvolume we will not define masculinity or manhood, but will ratherinvite authors to work with diverse definitions and understandings ofthe term and phenomenon, thus leaving it fluid. Also, we are interestedin a variety of topics related to male presence in the field ofmedicine. Some issues might include, but are not limited to:

-    Men's reproductive health and the biopolitics of masculinity
-    Gender-based violence and public health
-    Men's occupational health
-    Men and Sexually Transmittable Infections
-    Preventive medicine and male health practices; health and illness behavior, and health seeking
-    Men's health movements
-    Female dominated practices (e.g. abortion) and male identity
-    Men in patient's family and healing process
-    Knowledge production / gendering knowledge
-    Male professionals working with medical science and technology
-    Medicalization and masculinity including ageing, erectile disfunction etc.
-    Challenges in health care in a multicultural world with focus on different concepts and norms of masculinity
-    Men and substance (ab)use
-    Changing directions in treatment of men
-    Presentation of men and medical issues in media, literature, movies, theatre, art etc.

We invite scholars and researchers with background in anthropology, ethnology, qualitative sociology etc. to submit proposals for thesymposium. The volume which will follow this meeting will consist ofthematic chapters based on submitted articles of the contributors. Wedo not accept works that have already been published. Participants willbe given access to all papers no later than a week in advance of thesymposium.

Please send an abstract (300 words), affiliation and short presentation of the author(s) to Aleksandra Pytko - aleksandra.pytko@hf.hio.no

Deadline for abstracts is 14. February 2009.

Notification about accepted papers will be sent within 2 weeks after the deadline.
If an abstract is accepted, a full draft paper should be developed and submitted by 1. Mai 2009.

There will be no fees for the symposium. Nevertheless, participants arerequested to cover and arrange for travel and accommodation on theirown.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Organizing Committee:
Aleksandra Pytko - MA in Social Anthropology, University of Oslo,Norway. Currently she is working as a research assistant at the Facultyof Health Sciences, Oslo University College and Department ofLiterature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo.Contact: aleksandra.pytko@hf.hio.no

Danijel Loncar - MA in Anthropology and MA in Archaeology fromUniversity of Zagreb, Croatia. Currently he is an independentresearch er cooperating on various health-related projects with UnitedNations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS.Contact: danijel.loncar@ffzg.hr

Hanspeter Reihling - MA in Social Anthropology at Freie UniversitätBerlin, Germany. He is a PhD candidate currently working as researchassociate at the Institute for Social Anthropology, FUB.
Contact: h.reihling@fu-berlin.de

Professor Hansjörg Dilger Head of the Institute for Social Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Contact: hansjoerg.dilger@berlin.de


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