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Men of Disorder

Project "Men of Disorder"

The project “Men of Disorder” scrutinizes interrelations between collective violent actions in the modern and contemporary Middle East and configurations of masculinity. The emphasis of the project is on male networks in Iran and Tajikistan in the 20th century.

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Project discription

“To understand gender […] we must constantly go beyond gender. The same applies in reverse. We cannot understand class, race or global inequality without constantly moving towards gender. Gender relations are a major component of social structure as a whole, and gender politics are among the main determinants of our collective fate.” (Connell, Maculinities 2005, 76)

The project “Men of Disorder” scrutinizes configurations of masculinity in modern Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies. The question of how to interpret the term masculinity takes up a great part within this analysis. In this context, one cannot aim at determining what is “genuinely masculine”, but should rather examine which configurations of masculinity are transported by specific historical dispositions.

Based on the assumption, that configurations of masculinity are reflected in specific institutions and their corresponding values and standards, the project attends informal male networks in 20th century Iran and Tajikistan, and their leading heroes in particular. The networks examined here have controlled structures of organized crime in an urban context, but at the same time maintained close contacts to the political and religious elite and played a decisive role in mobilizing the urban subalterns for political incidents.

Thus, the protagonists considered in “Men of Disorder” are men that took over important sociopolitical functions during times of crisis like revolts, revolutions, civil wars or transformation processes. In this context, complex conceptions of masculinity play an important role, because they socially approve the exceeding of cultural norms just as the use of violence and challenge the state´s monopoly of force. These conceptions are to be determined and analyzed from a comparative perspective in a global context.

(Gefördert durch das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur, Baden-Württemberg)






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