'In the name of honour' : an exploration of the masculine culture of violence in the South African context.
Research on masculinity has become an area of increasing interest internationally and in South Africa. Research in South Africa focussing on masculinity and its impact on violence, sexuality and HIV/Aids has begun to escalate. Researchers and social scientists have come to the realisation of the need to investigate how men feel about being men in a society in which they have been dubbed sexist, violent and rapists. This thesis is an attempt to study the linkages between a culture-of-honour and violence. It does so by conceptualising culture as 'a set of affordances and constraints that channel the expression of coercive means of social control by self and others' (Bond, 2004, p. 62). By examining the subjective experiences of South African men in relation to concepts of masculinity and pride, it is hoped to determine whether honour norms generate hypersensitivity to insults and threats to the reputation of men which encourage men to respond with violence in order to reclaim or save 'face'. This aggression may be directed at other males as well as result in heightened tensions in heterosexual relationships that lead to violence (Cohen & Nisbett, 1994; Cohen & Vandello, 2003). A qualitative methodology was adopted for this investigation and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight young men from comparable educational backgrounds and differing cultures. These interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The notion of honour in men's construction of masculinity was evident and reveals commonalities as well as difference in the salience of honour constructs. Future studies are proposed to explore in more detail the relationship between honour and masculinities as well as the role of women in perpetuating honour norms in society.
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