19 Pages

Introduction: Michele Ford and Lenore Lyons


Men and masculinities are the subject of burgeoning scholarly interest, much of it driven by a desire to render masculinities visible. Masculinities scholars argue that men as men have rarely been treated as the subjects of scholarly research; the man as ‘male’ occupies the space of ‘the universal, normative subject’ (Louie 2002: 5) – a figure rarely problematized or deconstructed. These scholars claim that even within gender studies men have been largely absent (Connell et al. 2005: 1). The aim of research on men and masculinities is therefore to put men at the centre of scholarly enquiry as gendered beings. This has led to an explosion of writing about men and masculinities. In the context of Asia, much of this work is focused on China and Japan (see Brownell and Wasserstrom 2002; Louie 2002; Roberson and Suzuki 2002; Louie and Low 2003; Geng 2004) or on South Asia (Derné 2000; Osella et al. 2004; Banerjee 2005). There has been considerably less research on men and masculinities in Southeast Asia where, according to Peletz (1995: 102), masculinity and its constructions ‘have been taken for granted’.