Crafting masculinities: embodying, recuperating and redistributing care in young lives

Carl Bonner-Thompson, Anoop Nayak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on geographies of care identifies care work as a low-paid, menial and ultimately feminized activity. Much of the work in the field, unsurprisingly, has focused upon the plight of women and how the division of labour produces and sustains gender inequalities. We are interested in how new generations understand gender, work and care and the possibilities for generating heterogeneous, caring masculinities. Using creative methods, we engage young people in a series of critical masculinities workshops through which participants are asked to reflect upon what it means to be a man and materialize these ideas through arts and craft. Our school-based discussions with young people and their artworks reveal how participants place an acute emphasis on the felt, affective and emotional register of caring masculinities. We explore their creative endeavours to critically interrogate care as a gendered concept, interpret its ‘troubled’ relationship to masculinity, and analyse possibilities for future change. Our findings suggest masculine care practices have the potential to challenge and redistribute power across the gender order. However, we further found that hegemonic forms of masculinity could become consolidated and recuperated through caring acts, meaning gender power relations are not easily disrupted simply by men becoming caring.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


  • masculinities
  • geography
  • care ethics
  • Creative methods
  • fathering
  • creative methods
  • embodiment
  • young people
  • Care


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