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'Wanted men? Male role models in popular and policy discourses' (Sandy Ruxton and Martin Robb)

Policy debates and popular opinion reflect the premise that boys need 'positive male role models'...

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Martin Robb
22 July 2010

Policy debates and popular opinion reflect the premise that boys need 'positive male role models' if they are to grow into healthy well-adjusted men/fathers - and that such role models are increasingly absent from home, from schools and child care settings, and in the media. Drawing upon his recent report for the Coalition on Men and Boys on masculinities and public policy, Sandy will highlight various examples of this prominent discourse, raise questions about the assumptions which underpin them, and explore how an alternative approach could reflect a more critical and nuanced understanding of masculinity and gender development. Martin will cast a critical eye over the ‘male role model’ discourse, providing a close analysis of textual examples and suggesting an alternative theoretical perspective on boys’ development. This paper is intended as a contribution to a research proposal that we plan to submit in the near future, and we hope that the discussion it provokes will help to frame our research questions and thinking about methodology.

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