Manly bodies: theorizing masculinities through affect

Date

2017-12-08

Authors

Bethune, Stephanie

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Abstract

This thesis examines theoretical paradigms within men and masculinities studies (MMS), introducing a new materialist lens through the work of Elizabeth Grosz and Brian Massumi. Two affective dimensions of MMS are explored through the application of this new materialist lens: the affect of wonder and flat affect. These two concepts can be understood as expressions of Spinoza’s two types of affects; joyful affects, or those affects that increase a body’s capacity for movement, and sad affects, or those affects that decrease a body’s capacity for movement. The affect of wonder, a joyful affect, is theorized in conversation with antiviolence and therapeutic masculinity initiatives. Flat affect, a sad affect, is theorized in conversation with Canadian men’s suicide rates. This thesis argues that dominant forms of masculinity orient subjects away from wonder and towards an unlivable state characterized by flat affect. Men and masculinities studies theory lacks applied engagement with affect, and this thesis contributes to efforts to address this lack.

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Keywords

Masculinities, Affect Theory, Men's Suicide, Antiviolence Groups, New Materialism

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