Masculinity : an analysis of individual positioning and coping related to hegemony.
Current research in masculinity studies has emphasised the social construction of a masculine identity rooted in historical and cultural contexts. This view excludes the psychological processes involved in the construction of a sense of self. Social constructionist and psychoanalytic perspectives tend to offer polarised views of the development of a sense of self. By adopting a combined approach incorporating both social constructionism and psychoanalysis, this study investigated how men negotiate social expectations regarding an 'acceptable' personal masculinity, and how they position themselves and others (men and women) in relation to these expectations. The participants were faced with an ideological dilemma regarding whether to conform to social expectations regarding hegemony versus being unique. This ideological dilemma was not easily resolved, resulting in a fragile sense of masculine self. This study shows that socially sanctioned masculine ideologies have significant implications on men's sense of self and the construction of a masculine identity.