Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Masculinities, equality, care practices - MESP

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.00  Humanities  Anthropology   

Code Science Field
S215  Social sciences  Social problems and welfare, national insurance 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
care work, gender, masculinities, intersectionality, equality, inclusive citizenship, organisational cultures, gender segregation of labour market
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33596  PhD Branko Bembič  Culturology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  57 
2.  53338  Monika Bohinec    Technical associate  2020 
3.  24767  MSc Mojca Frelih  Social sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  174 
4.  18944  PhD Majda Hrženjak  Anthropology  Head  2017 - 2020  344 
5.  28994  PhD Živa Humer  Social sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  244 
6.  10976  PhD Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčela  Sociology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  567 
7.  20544  Irena Salmič    Technical associate  2017 - 2020 
8.  29686  PhD Iztok Šori  Sociology  Researcher  2017 - 2020  200 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0366  Peace Institute  Ljubljana  5498295000  3,580 
2.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  39,475 
Starting points The theme is located at the intersection of feminist theory of the welfare systems, in which the concept of care is in the centre of the analyses of inequalities, and critical studies of men and masculinities, which are widening the focus of gender studies from being exclusively oriented towards women to researching relational dynamics and heterogeneity within the categories of masculinity and femininity. Three dimensions of care (cost, work and responsiblities) are distributed by welfare systems in different ways among diverse institutional domains (the state, the market, the family) and among people divided by gender, ethnicity and class. Regardless of the framework in which care is carried out (private, professional), the low level of men's care giving has appeard to be resistant to social changes and has remained the central source of 'patriarhal dividends'. However, a vision of care as human norm that concerns both men and women reveals itself as a critical not only for overcoming the growing care deficit in the ageing societies, but also for (gender) equality and inclusive citizenship. Definition of problem Men’s equal share of care opens up a space for rethinking concepts of masculinity and femininity as well as relations between ‘production’ and ‘reproduction’, public and private, politics and intimacy as set-up in capitalism. There is a lot of complexity in men’s caring and we can summarize them in three dimensions: The first relates to the meaning of masculinity in the context of hierarchical and competitive relations among men, grasped in the concept of hegemonic/multiple masculinities. The second focuses on the way that breadwinning provides the dominant model for men’s caregiving which is likely to restrict the amount and types of care that men undertake. The third relates on the association of caring work with femininity as the anti-thesis of hegemonic masculinity.   Project objectives and impact On the empirical level the will explore men's caring practices in private and professional care and answer the questions: Who are male caregivers? Under what circumstances do men assume caring responsibilites? Do men face similar struggles as women when udertaking care? How men who opt for care work can reconcile this 'transgression' with the norms of hegemonic masculinity? How care work is being transformed when performed by men? Given that most data on gendered care division are about caring for children and sharing household chores in heterosexual families we aim to explore men's participation in different geographies of care. On theoretical level the project will contribute to the widening of the concept of care to meet the complex and plural social realities and to avoid essentialist perspectives. The research will contribute to exploring new welfare state prospects (participation of men in care) which is of societal, practical and policy relevance. Research methods and innovation  The research implies complexity of care and gender by conducting analysis on three levels with attention to their interactions: at the macro level of policy regulations/discourses; at the meso level of organizational cultures/practices; at the micro level of lived experiences of male carers in private and professional settings. Macro level will include contextualised analysis of the care configuration by using textual frame, discoursive and policy analysis; at meso level we will employ focus groups, observations and interviews; at micro level problem focused in-depth interview will be used which enables to gather the evidence on individual’s acting and subjective ways of processing social reality and allowes for narrations, explications and confrontations. The novelty is twofold: in international studies of masculinities the issue of men and care is under-researched; on national level it will be a first research on critical studies of men and masculinities.
Significance for science
A major innovation in the study is that it is focused onto an area of society that has remained relatively under-researched and debated – that of men and care. Also in the critical studies of men and masculinities the relations between masculinities and caring practices remain under-researched. A further innovation in this proposal is that it addresses this issue in its complexity: not only on individual level (which is a prevailing approach) but also on structural level including analysis of the policy and legislation (macro level), analysis of organizational cultures related to men in professional care (meso level) in intersections with the individual experiences of men themselves in their different social locations according to class, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation (intersectional perspective), both as professional and private carers (micro level). There is considerable research on the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work placed on women in contemporary societies and inequalities (pay, pension and political gaps) which women face because of lack of involvement of men in care work. The project will complement this approach by opposit perspective: it will explore barriers and potentials for participation of men in care work on policy, organisational and identity levels taking into account men's points of view and employing theoretical framework of critical men and masculinities studies. The concept of care has to be expanded and developed in order to meet the conditions of complex and plural social realities of post-industrial societies to avoid essentialist perspectives. Therefore, an important contribution of the project will be in theoretical and empirical widening of the concept of care and consequently the idea of caring democracy, caring society and inclusive citizenship. While most data on gendered care division are about caring for children and sharing household chores in middle class heterosexual families, this project will actively search for diversity of men's caring practices and contexts and will include also elder care, spousal care, care in reorganized and transnational families, LGBT couples etc. Last but not least, this will be the first research study in critical studies of men and masculinity in Slovenia and will contribute new knowledge about masculinities in postsocialist context where critical studies of men and masculinities remain under-researched.
Significance for the country
The research will contribute to exploring new welfare state prospects (i.e. the participation of men in care work) which is of societal, practical and policy relevance. The issues of participation of men in care work cut across different themes: - it is a central obstacle to gender equality; - the potential for addressing care deficit in aging European societies; - the prospect for gender (vertical and horizontal) desegregation of labour markets and improving the working conditions in care sector; - an option for men's employability in the conditions of shrinking (masculinised) industrial economy and growth of (feminized) service economy which causes a slow but persistent rise of men’s unemployment in Europe; - it addresses broader social inequalities related to care work (i.e. global care chains and recruiting of migrants in home-based care, segmentation and precarization of care work, grey economy of care work); - it contributes to the prospects for improvement of care policies and shifting responsibilities between different social groups for dealing with care deficit; - has potential for political and economic recognition of unpaid care work largely shouldered by women which may impact on higher economic equality of women and reducing the rate of poverty risk for elder women, which was in Slovenia in 2015 for women older than 65 years (22%) double of that of men (11%) and is one of the highest in EU.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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