Course Syllabus

Masculinities in Scandinavia

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2019 - DIS Copenhagen/Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

 Gender Studies, Sociology, Anthropology

Faculty Members:

Sara Grützmeier,

Program Director:

Iben De Neergaard,

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursday: 13:15- 14:35 
Location: N7-C23 


Description of course

This class will focus on a variety of topics and theories about masculinities and other categories of difference. How do they relate, distinguish and challenge each other? This is debated and analyzed through studies of how possibilities and limitations are handled in the lives of different men and masculine women, and how masculinities are articulated and negotiated in popular media, politics, literature, art, television, commercials, and cinema.

As Scandinavia is often praised for being the most gender equal region in the world, Scandinavian men are frequently seen as effeminate metrosexuals who are not threatened in their masculinity when they clean, cook and care for their children. Equal distribution of resources and opportunities are said to be cornerstones of modern Scandinavian welfare societies. Also, shared participation in childcare, housework and policies promoting women’s leadership are among the characteristics of Scandinavian societies.

In this course we will explore how this has impacted the notion of masculinity. However, while this class explores the particular expressions of masculinities in Scandinavia, this is not only a study of male bodies and practices. Rather, the class will discuss masculinity and its relation to other categories such as sexuality, race, socio-economic background, class etc. In this line of thinking, manliness is not necessarily understood as a given natural or normal form. Masculinities are rather understood as socially constructed spaces of culture and as a phenomenon to be analyzed in its ways of appearing in time and place. It is therefore necessary to talk about male-nesses and masculinities in plural.


Learning objectives of the course

Upon completing the course, students will be able to…

  • familiarize yourself with theories of hegemonic masculinity and how this is related to

    other masculinities and femininities

  • critically compare constructions of masculinities and their integration in institutional

    structures in Scandinavia and the US

  • recognize the influence of masculinities on the personal narratives of individuals

  • understand and be able to critically reflect on how your own understanding of

    masculinities is socially constructed


Ashe, Fidelma (2007) "The Politics of Non-Feminist Men's Groups", The New Politics of Masculinity, Men Power and Resistance, Routhledge

Christensen, Anne & Jensen, Sune Qvotrup (2014) "Combining Masculinity and Intersectionality", NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies, 9:1, 60-75

Connell, R. (1995): Masculinity. University of California Press

Flood, Michael (2003) "Men’s Collective Struggles for Gender Justice: The Case of Anti-Violence Activism." In The Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Eds Michael Kimmel, Jeff Hearn, and R.W. Connell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Halberstam, J. (1998). Female Masculinity. Duke University Press

Hearn et. al. (2012). "Hegemonic Masculinity and Beyond: 40 Years of Research in Sweden", Men and Masculinities, 15(1), 31-55

Higate, Paul & Hopton, John (2003). "War, Militarism and Masculinities" In The Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Eds Michael Kimmel, Jeff Hearn, and R.W. Connell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kimmel, M. (1994). ”Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity”, in (eds. Harry Brod & Michael Kaufman) Theorizing Masculinities. Sage 

Lapina, Linda & Leer, Jonathan (2016). "Carnivorous Heterotopias: Gender, nostalgia and hipsterness in the Copenhagen meat Scene" Norma, 11:2, 89-109

Morgan, Davis H. J. (1994). "Theater of War: Combat, the Military, and Masculinities" In in (eds. Harry Brod & Michael Kaufman) Theorizing Masculinities. Sage 

Sedgwick, E. (1991): How to Bring Your Kids up Gay”, in: Social Text, No. 29.

Whitehead, S. & Frank Barrett (eds.) (2001). The Masculinities Reader. Polity Press.

All readings for class can be found under 'files' or will be handed out in class. 

Course Faculty

Sara Ezban Grützmeier holds a Master Degree in International Development and International Relations with a focus on Global Refugee Studies (2013). Since completing her degree Sara has worked with ethnic minority intergration at the Copenhagen Municipality and worked with LGBTQ issues as an organisational Secretary in Sabaah, an NGO representing LGBTQ people with ethnic minority background in Denmark. 

Sara is currently teaching LGBTQ in Europe and Masculities in Scandinavia at DIS

Approach to Teaching

This course relies heavily on in-class participation. Class time will be largely discussion-based, with some lecture and interactive activities. Students should read all material prior to class. Some assignments will require independent fieldwork. I hope to create a classroom culture in which students are safe to explore ideas together; this requires a great amount of trust in each other and a willingness and curiosity to consider each other’s arguments.


To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work: 


Engaged participation (35 %)

Demonstrated by actively partaking in class discussions, group debates, student presentations, and field studies.

Midterm poster assignment (20 %)

Students must produce a poster about a gendered object. 

Blog post Paper (30 %)

As a final project the class will make a blog about Masculinities. All students must produce a blogpost that will be published on the blog (800-1000 words). Your blogpost must be presented in class to a smaller group of students.

Final blog post presentation (15 %)

In groups, students must present their blog-posts. Information and instructions on the format will be given in class. 

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

Paper Policy

It is crucial for your learning that you stay on task and hand in assignments on or before the due date. All work has to be completed in order to pass the class. Late work will be deducted a third of a grade point per day it is late.

Class schedule

Schedule is subject to change if necessary with as much notice as possible. You should meet in our classroom for all numbered days, and do all readings prior to class.

Course Summary:

Date Details