Gender Studies

Dreadfully Changing: The Pressures of Mutability on Men and Masculinities in Morocco

Conway-Long, Don, Ph.D. Washington University, 2000. 367 pages. Adviser: Canfield, Robert. Publication Number: AAT 9986649.

Based on interviews with 48 men in three Moroccan cities in 1992-93, this dissertation examines men’s beliefs and practices relating to masculinity, femininity and gender relations. Considering masculinity to be an ideology that interconnects the members of an imagined community, the study argues for the variability of that ideology even among members of a similar population or demographic group. In examining the ways Moroccan men make gendered accounts of their changing positions in the economy, the family and the state, this work argues that masculinity is a fundamental, though often invisible feature of male identity, and yet simultaneously a malleable ideology related to power in many realms of social life not so obviously gendered.

A key issue discussed is the ways that the ideology of masculinity supports a practice that is used to maintain the power of heterosexual men relative to women and homosexual men. One theme of the work is the ways in which individual interpretations of Islam are connected to a man’s gender, and hence the ways some men utilize a particular conservative Islamic gender code to make sense of the changes taking place around them. In this way, masculinity intersects with religion, politics, social practice and economic action in a vast and intricate web of connection. The work places the current conceptions of masculinity in the Moroccan historical context, as well as in the larger political context of the Middle East and North Africa. Hence, portraying the gender politics in these fortyeight men’s discourses in this one geographic location provides a framework for understanding the tensions and struggles among men and masculinities globally.

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