How do the Covid-19 pandemic, deindustrialisation in South Wales, and Bruce Springsteen all link back to masculinity? Find out in episode 3 of Now and Men, where we speak to Dr Mike Ward, a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at Swansea University. Mike’s research focuses on the performance of working-class masculinities within and beyond educational institutions. He is the author of the award-winning book ‘From Labouring to Learning, Working-Class Masculinities, Education and De-industrialization’, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. He is also the editor of Boyhood Studies, an interdisciplinary academic journal.
Some of the issues we cover in the episode include…
- Mike’s CoronaDiaries project, which has sought to understand the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s everyday lives.
- How Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford’s response to the pandemic has differed from that of other male leaders.
- Mike’s own experience of growing up in the South Wales Valleys, and how studying sociology helped him understand his background.
- The ethnographic research Mike has conducted with working-class young men in South Wales, which shone a light on the impact of deindustrialisation and different forms of loss at individual and community levels, and the ethical challenges which arose from his study.
- The influence of locality on the construction of masculinity, and the variety of forms that young working-class masculinities can take.
- Contemporary discussions about a ‘crisis of masculinity’.
- Being a Bruce Springsteen fan - and what his music tells us about being a man.
Read more about and access Mike’s work on his Swansea University page: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/staff/human-and-health-sciences/public-health-policy-and-social-sciences/ward-m/. You can follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/mrmwardphd.
- You can buy Mike’s book ‘From Labouring to Learning: Working-Class Masculinities, Education and De-industrialization’ from Palgrave Macmillan: https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781349561322
- Find out more about the CoronaDiaries project, and read diary entries, at https://collections.swansea.ac.uk/s/coronadiaries/page/home. It was covered by a variety of media sources, such as the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-52273526. Mike also wrote a piece about it for The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/lockdown-diaries-the-everyday-voices-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-138631
- The journal Boyhood Studies can be accessed at: http://boyhood-studies.berghahnjournals.com. Two special issues have recently been published on ‘The Men and the Boys, Twenty Years on: Revisiting Raewyn Connell's pivotal text’.
- Read more about the ‘Beyond Male Role Models’ project which Mike, Sandy and others worked on: https://wels.open.ac.uk/research/beyond-male-role-models. A short article by Mike about the project is here: https://theconversation.com/you-dont-have-to-be-male-to-be-a-role-model-for-men-71296
- The journal article by Jonathan Scourfield and Mark Drakeford which Mike refers to, 'Boys from Nowhere: Finding Welsh men and putting them in their place', can be found here: https://journals.library.wales/view/1179046/1181678/12
This episode was hosted and produced by Stephen Burrell and Sandy Ruxton. Thank you very much to Professor Nicole Westmarland, Durham University, and Vic Turnbull (MIC Media) for all of their support in setting up Now and Men.