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Men, Masculinity and Contemporary Dating Practices

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Chris Haywood
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Dating is changing. Practices such as online dating, speed dating and mobile romance are beginning to be adopted alongside more traditional dating practices such as family and friend introductions, meetings in bars and clubs and encounters in everyday work and social life. As yet, there remains very research-led knowledge on how men are responding to these changes. Instead, we remain highly dependent upon media narratives that offer contradictory accounts of men’s responses to contemporary dating practices. On the one hand, such narratives are claiming that new forms of dating are providing men with the opportunity to be more caring and sensitive (Hilton, 2011; Burke, 2012). On the other, such accounts are suggesting that there is a ‘menaissance’ – a cultural moment where ‘post-sensitive’ men are responding to change by drawing upon traditional masculine tropes such as emotional stoicism and toughness (Haddow, 2010; Fitzgerald, 2012). Thus traditional ways of being a man, often characterised by ‘anti-femininity, homophobia, emotional restrictiveness, competitiveness, toughness, and aggressiveness’ (Wade and Couglin, 2012: 326), are being re-made in this new dating context.
This project is looking form Postgraduate Research students who are interested in exploring men, masculinity and dating, and would welcome suggestions for more specific focus. However, your research is likely to engage with some of the following themes:

1. Provide new and exciting empirical data on men and their negotiation of emerging dating practices including the interplay between social expectations about what men should be doing and how men are responding to these expectations.

2. Hold in critical focus Raewyn Connell’s (1995) influential concept of hegemonic masculinity. Whilst recognising the importance of the concept to explain the nature of social relations it will also reflect upon the range of criticisms that have been made about the approach (Sielder, 2007; Moller, 2007; Johannssen and Andreas, 2013; Christensen and Jensen, 2014). Thus the project will aim to provide an original approach to this framework.

3. Examine the different ways that men’s identities and identifications are constituted within different dating contexts. In other words, it is important to trace the multifaceted (dis)connections between a range of social and cultural categories, such as class, ethnicity, homosexuality and generation. Alongside this, it seeks to discuss how men constitute their own sense of selves through an assemblage of similarities and differences.

4 Develop innovative methodological approaches to the study of men and masculinity. This might include traditional research approaches such as interviewing and ethnography, but we also welcome those particularly interested in online methods and/or more post-structural methodological approaches.

Students wishing to work on this project will have access to a wide range of professional, academic and social opportunities. Students will become part of the Media, Culture and Heritage team contributing to a vibrant learning community. You will have the opportunity during your studies to present papers to conferences, to write articles for academic journals, contribute articles to edited collections and other publications. Alongside this, you will have the opportunity to enrol on a nationally recognized teaching in Higher education qualification, design and deliver lectures and host undergraduate and post-graduate seminars. At the same time, you may want to contribute to existing forums such as Newcastle Critical Discourse Group, the Research Group in Film and Digital Media, the Gender Research Group. Alternatively, students may wish to develop their own research group.

Funding Notes

Applicants are welcome are either self-funded and/or carrying an award of scholarship from a funding body. Applicants are normally expected to have a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and a minimum of merit at Masters level (or equivalent). In some exceptional cases we may accept students directly from an undergraduate degree. Applicants whose first language is not English require IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 90 (Internet-based), or equivalent.


Mac an Ghaill, M. and Haywood C. (2013) Masculinities and Schooling. Routledge: London.

Mac an Ghaill, M. and Haywood, C. (2007) Gender Relations: Contemporary Femininities and Masculinities. Macmillan Press: London.

Haywood, C. and Mac an Ghaill, M. (2003) A Sociology of Men and Masculinities. Open University Press: Buckingham

How good is research at Newcastle University in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 14.35

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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