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Reading Rap: Feminist Interventions in Men and Masculinity Research
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis explores how masculinity is constructed and negotiated in relation to race, class and sexuality in hip hop in Sweden. Theoretically, the study contributes to the increasing use of contemporary feminist theory in men and masculinity research. In so doing, it brings into dialogue poststructuralist feminism, feminist phenomenology, intersectionality and queer theory. These theoretical perspectives are put to use in a discourse analysis of rap lyrics by 38 rap artists in Sweden from the period 1991-2011. The thesis is based on the following four articles:

Sticky masculinity: Post-structuralism, phenomenology and subjectivity in critical studies on men explores how poststructuralist feminism and feminist phenomenology can advance the understanding of subjectivity within men and masculinity research. Drawing on Sara Ahmed, and offering re-readings of John Stoltenberg and Victor Seidler, the article develops the notion of “sticky masculinity”.

Degrees of intersectionality: Male rap artists in Sweden negotiating class, race and gender analyzes how class, race, gender, and to some extent sexuality, intersect in rap lyrics by male artists. It shows how critiques of class and race inequalities in these lyrics intersect with normative notions of gender and sexuality. Drawing on this empirical analysis, the article suggests that the notion of “degrees of intersectionality” can be helpful in thinking about masculinity from an intersectional perspective.

‘No homo’: Straight inoculations and the queering of masculinity in Swedish hip hop explores the boundary work performed by male artists regarding sexuality categories. In particular, it analyzes how heterosexuality is sustained, given the affection expressed among male peers. To this end, the article develops the notion of “straight inoculations” to account for the rhetorical means by which heterosexual identities are sustained in a contested terrain.

Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity investigates lyrics by female artists in the male-dominated hip hop genre. The analysis shows how critique of gender inequality is a central theme in these lyrics, ranging from the hip hop scene to politics and men’s violence against women. The article also analyzes how female rappers both critique and perform masculinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 66 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 101
Keyword [en]
hip hop, rap lyrics, men and masculinity, feminist theory, intersectionality, queer theory, poststructuralism, feminist phenomenology, discourse analysis, cultural studies, popular music, gender, sexuality, race, class
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-229518ISBN: 978-91-554-9012-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-229518DiVA: diva2:739019
Public defence
2014-10-10, Room IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-09-19 Created: 2014-08-11 Last updated: 2015-01-22
List of papers
1. Sticky masculinity: Post-structuralism, phenomenology and subjectivity in critical studies on men
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sticky masculinity: Post-structuralism, phenomenology and subjectivity in critical studies on men
2014 (English)In: Men and Masculinities, ISSN 1097-184X, E-ISSN 1552-6828, Vol. 17, no 3, 231-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite the consolidation of "critical studies on men" or "masculinity studies" in recent years, critics have pointed to a kind of feminist theory deficit due to the relative lack of engagement with contemporary developments of feminist theory. By focusing on poststructuralist feminist and feminist phenomenological accounts of subjectivity, this article seeks to contribute to the emerging body of work that brings such theories into critical studies on men. I argue that making use of these perspectives is not only a matter of replacing dominant theories, but rather offers possibilities for creative re-reading of earlier work on masculinity, which may not have been sufficiently appreciated from the viewpoint of dominant structural perspectives. My argument proceeds through a reading of John Stoltenberg as a poststructuralist feminist, and a reading of Victor Seidler as a feminist phenomenologist. I suggest that the study of masculinity can benefit from both traditions, and as an example I consider Jonathan Salisbury’s and David Jackson’s work on "boys’ work." Drawing in particular on Sara Ahmed’s innovative combination of poststructuralism and phenomenology, I suggest an understanding of masculinity as "sticky."

Keyword
subjectivity, masculinity, post-structuralism, phenomenology, John Stoltenberg, Victor Seidler, Sara Ahmed, queer phenomenology
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226271 (URN)10.1177/1097184X14539510 (DOI)000340101200001 ()
Available from: 2014-06-14 Created: 2014-06-14 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Degrees of intersectionality: Male rap artists in Sweden negotiating class, race and gender
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Degrees of intersectionality: Male rap artists in Sweden negotiating class, race and gender
2013 (English)In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 5, 189-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

“Intersectionality” has become a highly influential concept in gender research over the last 25 years. Debates have focused on differences and power asymmetries between women, in terms of race but also addressing class, age, sexuality, ability and nation. However, intersectional paradigms have been used to a much lesser extent in gender studies on men. This article seeks to contribute to an emerging discussion about intersectionality and masculinity by analyzing rap lyrics in Swe-dish songs. The data consists of a broad sample of rap lyrics by male artists 1991-2011, which is analyzed through poststructuralist discourse analysis and queer phenomenology. The analysis shows how classed discourses can be described in terms of orientation and flow, how racialization is articulated in terms of place, and the role of normative notions of gender and sexuality in anti-racist discourses. It is argued that this interconnectedness – class being related to race, which in turn is profoundly gendered – is neither well captured by the prevailing notion of “masculinities” in gender studies on men, nor by the “constitution” vs. “addition” dichotomy in intersectionality debates. Instead, it is suggested that degrees of in-tersectionality might be a more fruitful way of theorizing intersectionality in rela-tion to men.

Keyword
intersectionality, hip hop, rap lyrics, men and masculinities, racialization, class, queer phenomenology, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-201659 (URN)10.3384/cu.2000.1525.135189 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-06-13 Created: 2013-06-13 Last updated: 2017-12-06
3. 'No homo': Straight inoculations and the queering of masculinity in Swedish hip hop
Open this publication in new window or tab >>'No homo': Straight inoculations and the queering of masculinity in Swedish hip hop
2012 (English)In: Norma, ISSN 1890-2138, E-ISSN 1890-2146, Vol. 7, no 1, 50-66 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Performing heterosexuality is often a central component in the making ofmasculinity. Yet queer theory with its critical focus on heterosexuality has not hadthe same impact on masculinity studies as on other areas of gender studies. Thisarticle seeks to contribute to the emerging use of queer theory within criticalstudies on men and masculinities by examining the production and negotiation ofmale heterosexuality in Swedish hip hop. This is done through a discourse analysisof a broad sample of Swedish rap lyrics from 1991 to 2011. Analyzing the use ofmetaphors, rhetorical negotiations and triangles of desire, it is argued that in spiteof a dominant heteronormative discourse, signs of male homosocial desire abound.The author suggests that the concept of straight inoculations can be useful inunderstanding attempts to maintain heterosexuality in an ambiguous terrain.

Keyword
straight inoculations, men and masculinities, queer theory, hip hop, rap lyrics, male homosocial desire, homosociality
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-175712 (URN)
Available from: 2012-06-12 Created: 2012-06-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07
4. Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hip hop feminism in Sweden: Intersectionality, feminist critique and female masculinity
2014 (English)In: The European Journal of Women's Studies, ISSN 1350-5068, E-ISSN 1461-7420, Vol. 21, no 3, 233-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hip hop has grown into a worldwide genre in recent decades, often being associated with issues of race and class. However, as research on ‘hip hop feminism’ in the US context demonstrates, the categories of gender and sexuality are no less fundamental. In the growing body of international hip hop research, though, questions about gender have been relatively absent, and relatively little is known about how gender norms are negotiated and challenged in hip hop in Europe. This article seeks to contribute to filling this gap in the literature by exploring how women negotiate the gender norms of hip hop in the case of Sweden. To this end, rap lyrics by 12 female rap artists are analysed through poststructuralist discourse analysis. The analysis focuses on intersectionality, feminism within and beyond hip hop, as well as the possibilities and limitations of female masculinity. It is shown how the masculine norms of the genre are simultaneously resisted and resignified as many female rappers incorporate some elements commonly associated with masculinity but mobilize them in their challenging of masculine norms. In this way, complying with the genre interestingly produces a hard and explicit feminism in which ‘all sexist pigs will be slaughtered’.

Keyword
female masculinity, feminism, hip hop, intersectionality, rap lyrics, Sweden, women in hip hop
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214568 (URN)10.1177/1350506813518761 (DOI)000340132400003 ()
Available from: 2014-01-08 Created: 2014-01-08 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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