Rebecca Kay assesses how men in post-Soviet Russia are represented through media and popular discourses. Using case studies she explores the challenges which have arisen for men since 1991 and the ways in which their responses are shaped by and viewed through the prism of widely accepted attitudes towards gender. The lives and concerns of men in provincial Russia are examined through ethnographic fieldwork, combining extensive participant observation with in-depth interviews. The book reveals how individual men strive to maintain a sense of equilibrium between the activities in which they are engaged and the ways in which they are perceived, both by others and by themselves. The findings of the research have produced significant areas of contrast and comparison with the author's earlier work on women. This is drawn out throughout the book, placing the study of Russian men in a broader gendered context. The issues raised by the men mirror concerns discussed in men's studies literature and popular discourse beyond Russia. The book is therefore of interest to a wider international audience as well as contributing to ongoing interdisciplinary debates, in Russian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology and Human Geography, addressing the need for new approaches to understanding post-Socialist change.
’An intriguing and suggestive book that illuminates men's experience as they try to find new meanings for manhood in post-Soviet Russia. Based on interviews with men from Siberia and the European heartland of Russia, and from a wide range of backgrounds, Kay's book explores how these men have responded to the challenges of military service, the new economy, marital life and fatherhood. The commonplace view of Russia's men as superfluous and self-destructive in the face of economic and national crisis is found wanting, and the significance of both the civic and the intimate in Russian men’s own reconstructions of gender should give politicians, policy makers and scholars pause for thought.’ Dan Healey, Senior Lecturer, Swansea University, UK ’Rebecca Kay’s study of narratives of masculinity brings an important new dimension to the English-language literature on gender in post-Soviet Russia. This book is a thoroughly researched, empathetic and engagingly written account of how the other half� has negotiated the constraints of the post-Soviet gender regime. It will be an important resource for teaching and research in the fields of gender studies, Russian and East European studies, sociology, cultural studies and social policy.’ Hilary Pilkington, University of Warwick, UK ’Russian policymakers concerned about very high male mortality and very low birthrates would do well to read Kay’s account…The challenges for Russian men and women are great because of the scale and rapidity of change but they are also part and parcel of far broader processes of globalization. Kay’s fascinating and insightful work helps to enhance our understanding of both.’ Transitions Online ’With this thorough and rich study of changing masculinities in contemporary Russia, Rebecca Kay has made an important contribution to our understanding of gendered structures and relations in post-socialist societies…Kay’s study…fills a gap in the literature and simultan
Contents: Introduction: studying men in Russia: historical perspectives and international contexts; Heroes or Villains?: 'being a man' in contemporary Russia. Men in the Public Sphere: Military service: rite of passage or waste of time?; 'What kind of a man doesn't provide for his family?': making ends meet in the new labour market; 'What's a man without capital?': the pitfalls and potential of private enterprise. Men in the Private Sphere: 'I couldn't live without my kids': fatherhood as a contested identity; 'A woman has a right to expect certain conditions': personal relationships between men and women; 'Just give me an aspirin and I'll be fine': the provision of social services and support for men, a case study of the Altai Regional Crisis Centre for Men; Conclusions: new perspectives on men in contemporary Russia; Appendix: Respondents' socio-demographic data; Bibliography; Index.