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This text explores the challenges posed to the idea of masculine identity during a period of growing scepticism about fixed identities. Postmodernism and postructuralism have undermined the assumptions upon which established identities have been constructed, such as the concept of stable bodies and stable selves. Sex, gender, sexuality and race are longer viewed as merely descriptive aspects of experience, but also as constructions of identity. The author argues that the academic area of men's studies has largely failed to engage with recent theory or critically reflect on the epistemology of masculinity. Masculinity has tended to be treated in isolation from power relations and historical and global contexts. Drawing on current debates in postmodern feminism, feminist philosophy of science, anti-racist/postcolonial studies and queer theory, this book considers the way in which discourse fabricates the ideal male body, sexual identity and sexual identity politics. The book explores the possibilities of developing new models of identity t so closely linked to the sex/gender system and examines the prospects of creating a new or reconceptualized sexual identity politics.
Alan Petersen is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Murdoch University in Western Australia. His recent publications include The New Public Health: Health and Self in the Age of Risk (co-written with Deborah Lupton), Foucalut, Health and Medicine (co-edited with Robin Bunton) and Health Matters: Sociology of Illness, Prevention and Care (co-edited with Charles Waddell).