[Vision2020] Ross Honeywill's book "The Man Problem: Destructive Masculinity in Western Culture"

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun Mar 27 22:57:33 PDT 2016

I heard a radio broadcast recently on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
AM station that featured discussion of this 2016 book.

I have long thought it is rather obvious that men are responsible for most
of the war and violence in human societies, with notable exceptions, and
that this is not merely cultural, but in part genetic.  Thus I was
very fascinated by this discussion of this book.

I have stated many times that I think the world would be in total a better
place if women dominated all governments!  An experiment that I don't think
I will live to see undertaken, so it remains speculation.

The analysis in this book synopsis below employs concepts and language new
to me.  "The liquid present" for example.

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

The Man ProblemRoss Honeywill

developed a social philosophy that destructive masculinity threatens the
very society in which we live. His new book, *The Man Problem: Destructive
Masculinity in Western Culture*, explores the potential for destructive
masculinity in the everyday lives of men, as the normality of evil.
Book Synopsis

All men – ordinary and exceptional men – have a potential for evil. What is
it? Where does it originate? How does it impact society? Can it be
overcome? This book explores the masculine potential for evil, and traces
its various manifestations in cultural texts, social systems and everyday
life practices, from the birth of modernity to the liquid present.

*The Man Problem* reveals a potential for evil in the normality of the
everyday, a potential inherent to all men. Using critical theory and an
interdisciplinary or bricolage research framework, the book examines the
origins and impacts of destructive masculinity from the Enlightenment and
modernity, through postmodernity, and into the liquid present; and exposes
the violent suppression of Woman and women in the creative and symbolic
dimension of the social that forms the Western cultural imaginary.

Modernity is shown to be an epoch of institutionalised androcentrism, in
which the Enlightenment narrative of plurality was rejected in favour of
the script of male mastery, control and domination. A major effect of this
was the incorporation of ‘destruction’ as a feature of ‘ordinary’
masculinity and the ensuing normalisation of evil.

Referencing the work of critical theorists, philosophers, sociologists,
feminists and scientists, the book describes how the ‘banality’ and
‘ordinariness’ of evil points to the Second World War, the Holocaust and
the social death of Woman, as explicit outcomes of destructive masculinity.
It reveals an ‘Oedipal schism’ as the source of destructive masculinity, a
rupture that negotiates between the extremes of social constructionism and
biological determinism, and draws analogies between individual lives and
social processes.

Destructive masculinity in postmodernity is shown to be a period of
rebellion against the constraints and certitudes of modernity, and an
attempt to continue the liberal and pluralising legacy of the
Enlightenment. The book shows, however, that postmodernity failed to
reverse the genocide of Woman or to renounce the self-deception of
destructive masculinity.

A continuing process of re-masculinisation after the end of postmodernity
is revealed, in a period which, reimagining Bauman, is called the liquid
present: a time in which destructive masculinity lives on, as evidenced by
inequality in the workplace, growing gender conservatism, and constant
eruptions of male violence. The consumer culture of the liquid present is
identified as a culture in the making, where the shallow consumer
monoculture exists alongside the deep knowledge culture. While the consumer
monoculture melancholically nurtures destructive masculinity, the knowledge
culture embodies the conditions for surpassing it by, for example,
individualised choices by men.

This book not only diagnoses destructive masculinity, but also identifies a
possible, and feasible, way forward – a prognosis for society to surpass
the annihilative potential of destructive masculinity: men in the knowledge
culture have, in outgrowing the pile of psychosocial wreckage rising
skyward under the gaze of the angel of history, a humanist voice to speak
on behalf of all good men. It is the voice of human survival, and it must
be heard.

*The Man Problem is published by Palgrave Macmillan (New York).*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.fsr.com/pipermail/vision2020/attachments/20160327/6e02e72d/attachment.html>

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list