« Be a real man ! » Hegemonic Masculinities in a Swiss vocational school : boundary work between gender and social position in the labour market
2012, Moret, Joëlle, Dahinden, Janine, Duemmler, Kerstin
Using ethnographic material, this article analyzes the processes at work in the construction of valued masculinity among young men in a Swiss vocational school. By adopting a theoretical boundary-making approach, we argue that double boundary work takes place in order to assert a specific form of hegemonic masculinity as the only legitimate way to be “a real man”. First, young men in the school draw symbolic boundaries between themselves as hard-working, tough, heterosexual, economically responsible men on one side, and effeminate, intellectual, lazy, despicable men on the other. A second boundary is drawn towards women, relying on a specifically constructed form of femininity and institutionalized gender boundaries, where women are depicted as dependant wives whose daily activities have little value. These processes are analyzed as a strategy used by these young men to counter a socially disadvantaged position on the labour market and in the society in general. Yet, the valorization of the masculine nature of their working identity has social consequences as they contribute to reproducing unequal gender hierarchies.
Alternative spatial hierarchies: a cross-border spouse’s positioning strategies in the face of Germany’s ‘pre-integration’ language test
2019-7-17, Jashari, Shpresa, Dahinden, Janine, Moret, Joëlle
This paper examines how spouses waiting in Turkey to be reunited with their partner in Europe experience border regimes and deal with the transnationalised discourses on ‘marriage migrants’ they encounter. It is based on the analysis of a single narrative interview, that of a woman taking German classes at Goethe Institute in Istanbul in order to pass the required language test. Like other respondents, she is confronted with negative gendered preconceptions regarding ‘Turkish import brides’. Her boundary work involves mobilising alternative hierarchies in an attempt to discursively construct a different Turkey than the one generally represented: she draws on social class (positioning herself as a member of the highly educated, mobile and economically better off), socio-spatial units (focusing on her urbanity) and gender (experiencing ‘modern’ and equal gender relationships). The paper emphasises the importance of the socio-spatial context, here the classroom, where boundary-making takes place. It also provides insights into the effects of global spatial hierarchies on migrants and their alternative narratives, a dimension that can only be understood through a decentred analysis. The article contributes to studies on cross-border marriages by analysing the ‘outgoing’ side, a perspective still rarely addressed in the literature.