Masculinity, Power and Technology : A Malaysian Ethnography book cover
1st Edition

Masculinity, Power and Technology
A Malaysian Ethnography

ISBN 9780367604561
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

Drawing on fieldwork carried out among male motor mechanics in the Chinese diaspora of Penang, Malaysia, this informative volume explores the links between technology and the masculinization of power. Malaysia shares an obsession with modernity by way of technological development and a "can do" entrepreneurial spirit where technology is held in high esteem. Technology holds such positive connotations in Malaysian society that it is therefore a source of individual and national empowerment. Technology and modernity are therefore important factors when understanding contemporary Malaysian society. Just as there is very much a masculine ethos pervading Malaysia's spirit and belief in modernity and progress, this insightful and rewarding book focuses on technology and machines in relation to masculinity to provide an innovative, anthropological perspective of Malaysian society and the Chinese diaspora.

Table of Contents

Contents: Prologue; Introduction; The ethnographic setting; 'What's on the first page...?' A discussion of the reciprocal making of an ethnography; Becoming a man and growing up male; The embodiment of a mechanic; Working hard and making money; Transgressing gender and class; Epilogue - towards intersectional analyses of masculinities; References; Index.

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Ulf Mellström is Associate Professor within the Department of Technology and Social Change at Linköping University and also within the Department of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Skovde, Sweden.


'Ulf Mellström situates his work at the intersection of two lively anthropological research areas, gender and technology, and makes a significant contribution to both. His style is lively, and his personal and ethnographic encounter with the field is vividly portrayed. All this makes Masculinity, Power and Technology very attractive reading.' Professor Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm University, Sweden 'Mellström has written an extraordinary book. He brings together insights from studies of masculinities, science and technology, and anthropology in order to illuminate the lives of Chinese mechanics in Penang. Mellström clearly has a great talent for 'hanging out with the guys' and is sensitive to the nuances of everyday life in the workshops of Penang. Moreover, he is able to convey his experiences and insights in a way that is thoroughly engaging for the reader. Reading this book is like reading a novel - and this is meant as a compliment given the turgidness of much contemporary academic prose. It is also a wonderful reflection on how to write about sensory experiences. For that, we have to thank Mellström's research participants/collaborators who were as curious about his working practices as he was about theirs.' Dr Sally Wyatt, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands