Accepted Paper:

Becoming a real man: evangelical discourses on masculinity  


Kim Knibbe (Groningen University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper maps discourses on masculinity in Dutch evangelicalism, the ways these problematize masculinity in present day society, and the strategies to remedy this situation. Co-authored with Marten van der Meulen, Miranda Klaver, Johan Roeland, Hijme Stoffels and Peter Versteeg.

Paper long abstract:

Dutch evangelicalism has always been male dominated, and has always known various forms of male brotherhoods. However, the past years 'the problem with men' has come to be defined in a particular way, and a whole genre of books has emerged defining and explaining this problem and proposing solutions. Surprisingly, the sources and legitimizations for the essentializing gender ideologies and hierarchies proposed in this literature derives less form biblical sources, but rather leans on popularized forms of evolutionary theory and biology, as well as popular culture in general such as movies and music. Furthermore, a new kind (new for evangelical circles) of mens movement has emerged that focuses more on the body and on physical endurance as a test for manhood.

This paper will describe these developments and contextualize them in relation to similar developments in other parts of the world but also in relation to the so called mytho-poetical movement, of which the book Iron John by Robert Bly is an important exponent.

Panel P030
Innovation and continuity in the anthropology of gender and sexuality (Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality)