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Men Undergoing Change: Présentation

International Seminar on Masculine Resistance to Change
In a perspective of equality between men and women

Toulouse-Le Mirail University (the arch), Amphitheatre 9,
Toulouse, France. 20th-21st February 2004

European research : Belgium, France, Greece

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What if we talked about men ? And what if men talked ?

What’s going on with men ?
What’s going on for men ?
Concerning equality between men and women, but also between men and men ;
Their everyday lives, their relationships with work, with sexualities, with the family ;
Difficulties with integrating new models of fatherhood, partnership, friendship, of colleagues and citizens ;
Concerning the obligatory virility at work and at home ;
The difficulties of living and talking about equality with women and with other men ;
Male sufferings and fears ;
The relationship between professional and private life ;
Their desires for different relationships amongst themselves, with women, with children ?
What is there to say about male resistance to the changes brought about by women and by men ?

In the past few years an increasing amount of work and publications have been centred around women. The gender perspective itself seems at times to have forgotten the other side of social gender relationships .

This is why, along with other associations and university institutions, the sociological and ethnic research association Les Traboules has set up a European study on male resistances to change . In France, Belgium and Greece we have questioned men about their relationships with women, with other men, about their perceptions of and involvement with the politics of equality between men and women, whether they concern work, private or public life.

To understand « male resistances to change », and allow a quicker, more effective promotion of politics for equality between women and men, we consider it necessary to presuppose two concomitant elements :

- That of analysing and understanding the complex alchemy which organises social gender relations, whether they are exercised in the workplace or at home, or, perhaps more importantly, in the interaction between these two spheres which are so often represented as being independent.
- That of centring our analyses and actions around those men who, apparently « resist », are reluctant about or even refuse change, or who are represented as so doing. And, on the other hand, to interest ourselves in men who claim to want to facilitate the evolution of our societies towards equality.

Our meeting, then, aims to listen to men talking about their relations to women, in their jobs or in their private lives, to understand their « resistances to change » and, finally, to communicate with them, TALK to them.

In this first stage, we have privileged three spheres of analysis :
1/ male and female political and administrative representatives who have a link with politics of equality.
2/ trade unionists responsible for putting into action agreements on equity and the conciliation of work and family.
3/ men who have decided to change their lifestyles in ways which seek to give them more equality with women.

The objective of this end-of-research seminar will be, then, to look at the current state of affairs concerning male resistances to change , the problems of studying men and masculinity, the obstacles, misunderstandings and conflicts which subsist in male/female relationships.
The presence of various international specialists on men and masculinity (Jorgen Lorentzen, Gilles Rondeau, Jeanne Fagnani…) will allow the comparison of our analyses with those of other countries not included in this study.

The seminar is aimed at researchers on masculinity and masculinities from various countries, university students and teachers, politicians, administrators, trade unionists , but also to men and women from civil groups and associations.

The European Study on Male Resistances to Change is supported by the General Direction of Employment and Social Affairs, the European Commission’s Community Action Programme for Equality Between Men and Women, and the Regional Delegation for Women’s Rights and Equality of the Midi-Pyrenees..

Partners :
France : Equipe Simone /Sagesse (Toulouse-le-Mirail University) RIME association, CGT, CFDT
Belgium : Association Ex-Aequo, the Socio-Epidemiological Observatory on AIDS and Sexualities, the university faculties of St. Louis, the Catholic University of Louain-La-Neuve
Greece : KHETI, Panteion University.
(see Contacts page)

Taking advantage of the occassion of this seminar on equality between men and women, and in the framework of a European evaluation of centres for violent men set up by the association Les Traboules, a special meeting will be held in Toulouse on the 19th February for a discussion on European structures of reception for violent men.

Seminar: Presentation - Plan/Info - Programme - Inscription - Poster - Contacts