Academic journal article Family Relations

Masculinity Reconstructed: Changing the Rules of Manhood at Work, in Relationships and in Family Life

Academic journal article Family Relations

Masculinity Reconstructed: Changing the Rules of Manhood at Work, in Relationships and in Family Life

Article excerpt

Levant, Ronald F. with Kopecky, Gini. (1995). Masculinity Reconstructed: Changing the Rules of Manhood at Work, in Relationships and in Family Life. New York: Dutton. 308 pages. Hardcover ISBN 0-525-93846-X, price $22.95.

A shift is occurring in the literature on men and fatherhood. It is a very slow, but progressive shift from an almost total use of a problem paradigm for discussion of men's issues to recognition, sometimes grudgingly, that there are assets to be found in the legacies of earlier generations of men. Levant writes in the midst of that transition, and, although his work is more solid and useful than most, he is still caught between the problem and strengths paradigms. The result is a contradictory work.

Twenty years ago, the social commentator Ellen Goodman began describing the ambivalence for late 20th century women and men caught between two worlds, two compelling, experiences and images of man and womanhood. Rather than talk of rejection of one before accepting another, she suggested a dialogue involving the two perspectives.

Similarly, Gilmore's groundbreaking study of masculinity, Manhood in the Making, which Levant cites, ends with his admission of surprise that manhood across time and cultures contains documentation of nurturing and giving to others. He, too, suggests continuity between earlier and emerging constructs of manhood.

Levant's title, Masculinity Reconstructed, suggests something akin to Goodman and Gilmore. …

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