Masculinity and Crime - Messerschmidt

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  • Created by: HLOldham
  • Created on: 28-03-16 13:39
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  • Masculinity and Crime -Messerschmidt
    • "Masculinity is accomplished, it is not something done to men or settled beforehand... it is never static, never a finished product. Rather, men construct masculinities in specific social situations"
      • Rejects 'biological' theory
      • Rejects 'sex role theory'
    • Types of Masculinity
      • Hegemonic Masculinities: dominant type of masculinity, highly valued
      • Subordinated Masculinities: less powerful, low status
        • e.g. Homosexuals, African American masculinity
    • Hegemonic Masculinity
      • Generally based on the subordination of women
      • Benefit from their power over women
      • "Criminal behaviour is really a resource for asserting masculinity when other resources are unavailable"
    • Middle Class White Boys
      • Experience school as emasculating (socially rendering males as less of a man)
      • Engage in 'repressed  characteristics' outside of school, e.g. minor acts pf criminality, vandalism, drinking, shoplifting etc
      • Due to affluent background - able to avoid negative labelling
      • Adopt an accommodating masculinity - "a controlled rational gender strategy for institutional success"
      • Outside school - adopt an oppositional masculinity to assert the patterns of hegemonic masculinity they are denied within school
    • Working Class White Boys
      • Experience school as emasculating
      • Less chance of academic success - denied success route to hegemonic masculinity
        • Construct masculinity around physical aggression/ violence
          • Important to be seen as tough and oppose authority
            • Use violence against those who they perceive fail to match their perception of 'masculinity'
              • Use an oppositional masculinity both in and out of school
    • Ethnic Minority Boys
      • Experience more problems finding secure and reasonably paid employment
        • Less likely to express masculinity as breadwiners
      • Increased risk of poverty = less likely to gain status via material goods
        • Tend to express masculinity in 'the street' via violence and crime
          • Use robbery/ violence to make themselves more masculine than their victims
            • Less likely to express masculinity as breadwiners
      • Gangs and 'turf wars' are really attempts to assert masculine control
        • Rape is also used as a method of control - helps strengthen the fiction of masculine power
          • e.g. Central Park Jogger rape case
      • Ethnic males 'do masculinity' within the limits of social structures which constrains them


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