Monday, June 13, 2011

An exploration of masculinities - Chad States

"I am strong emotionally, have always stood up for myself, and fear nothing. I happen to be physically strong, but that isn't where I derive my masculinity." —Bill

Please take a moment to check out this excellent photographic exploration of masculinity by Chad States (via Mother Jones). I really like the diversity of individuals and the range of self-definitions of masculinity, as explained in the words of the individuals in each photograph.

As an aside, photographic methods in anthropology have so much potential! I was recently over at Savage Minds discussing the use of photography in the field... I've used photos in academic papers before but also participatory photography. For the specific project I was working on, our team gave a group of 10 women disposable cameras and, with very few instructions, had them photograph elements of their lives they liked and that made them happy, and elements of their lives/environments that they wanted to change. Not only did they help with data collection in this way, but also with data analysis when they discussed their opinions of the photos. From this information, our team extracted common themes from the photos, including positive themes of family, church, friends and work, and negative themes of neighborhood blight, crime, and poor housing conditions, which we in turn related back to our study of the negative affects of limited social capital and networks on health and well-being for low-income African American women and their families.

We used a selection of the photos in the final project report and proposal, which impressed the client but also opened their eyes to the potential for future use of this and other participatory methods.

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