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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Domestic violence affects males, too - Need for Male Studies

To expose the incidences like this(in India especially, where there is a dearth of "Male Research" ) and explore the reasons for it, we need to start instituting research teams(students of sociology, MSWs, etc would be a good-fit) by tying up with reputed universities/colleges like Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS).

So that we can base our awareness programs/arguments on actual India-specific research work(we already have research models to emulate, like the US research which says the bad effect of single parenting on children, available on CRISP website).

FAQ on why Male Studies  (Courtesy

Why “Male Studies” and not “Men’s Studies”?

Male Studies refers to the multidisciplinary study of the male human being, boys and men. Men Studies, by definition, has focused on fully grown men. Male studies will be comprehensive of males of all ages.

How is Male Studies related to Gender Studies?

Male Studies is independent scholarship without ideological ties to Men’s Studies, which emerged within Gender Studies to complement Women’s Studies. Male Studies focuses on the experience of being male and not only behavior (masculinity).

Is Male Studies grounded in one discipline?

No. While Men’s Studies grew out of sociology, Male Studies recognizes that all of the sciences have specialized knowledge about males. Most disciplines have something unique to contribute to understanding the experience of being male. They include anthropology, biology, psychology, medicine, history and education.

Is Male Studies a reaction to other scholarship?

No. Male Studies has emerged out of the conviction that the experience of what it means to be male can be approached while abstaining from cultural and ideological preconceptions about the phenomenon.

Is Male Studies a Western discipline?

No. Male Studies recognizes that while being male has been interpreted in a variety of ways in Western culture, it is experienced differently in different cultures and historical periods. Its goal is to be cross-cultural and international in scope.

Is Male Studies essentialist?

One fundamental question of Male Studies is whether there are essential features of being male. Having a male body is clearly one of them. Male Studies raises the question of whether there are other fundamental features of being male such as an inner experience of being male.

Does one have to identify as a male to engage in Male Studies?

Male Studies is based on the conviction that anyone is in a position to study the male. It is a scholarly discipline and as such is no more limited to work by males than any other discipline such as anthropology, biology, psychology, medicine or history. Males and females have made major contributions to all of these disciplines.

Why has Males Studies emerged at this time?

After thousands of years, previously isolated and independent cultures are now being exposed to each in unprecedented ways by means of the media, including especially television and the internet. Cultures previously divided from one another are meeting in an emerging global culture. Among the basic elements of this culture is the nature of being male. Bracketing ideological commitments is especially important at such a time. Instead, scientific research based on the view that it is important to allow the phenomenon to speak for itself must be given support. Male Studies is one area of such research. The effects of sophisticated technologies (birth control medications, sexual surrogacy) on reproduction are also of primary interest in Male Studies.

How is the concept of being male related to the concepts of gender, masculinity, and manhood?

Concepts of gender—masculinity and femininity—and their cultural institution as manhood and womanhood are of interest to Male Studies, but they are seen as secondary to a phenomenology of being male. Scholars in Male Studies believe that a complementary area of scholarship, Female Studies, would be a welcome addition to the scientific study of human beings.

What is the relation of Male Studies to misandry?

As a human science, Male Studies is opposed to the hatred of other human beings based on their genetic make-up, including misogyny (the hatred of females because they are female) and misandry (the hatred of males because they are male). It is opposed to hatred of a group of human beings based on sexual genetic variations (for example, Turner’s Syndrome or Kleinfelter’s Syndrome) or genetic variations leading to a unique physical habitus (for example, dwarfism). It is opposed to hatred of individuals based on their behavioral style, sexual preference or religious conviction. There is now a body of research, however, that suggests the presence of an unacknowledged underlying theme of misandry in popular culture, in recent legislation (international and national), and in academe. Male Studies is concerned to confirm or refute this research.

What are some topics of Male Studies?

As an emerging discipline, the topics of Male studies are only now being identified. Several topics are clearly of interest to scholars in the discipline: the documented deterioration of boys’ engagement and performance in education at all levels, and the remarkable extent of suicide among males as compared to females. Certain psychological disorders that are for the most part identified in young males deserve our attention. They include learning disabilities, conduct disorders (including violence against females and other males), and depression (which is often masked as irritability or lack of involvement in activities of everyday life). In the technology-dominated culture of the West, the declining numbers of males entering and completing tertiary education must be explained.

Also check out the first international symposium on Male Studies(you can register for its webcast -April 7, 2010 ) -

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