Episode 3

Published on:

31st Aug 2021

Dr Mike Ward - Young Working-Class Masculinities in the South Wales Valleys

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.

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.

Show artwork for Now and Men

About the Podcast

Now and Men
Current conversations about men's lives
What's it like to be a man in the 21st century? How are feminist issues relevant to men and boys? These questions are being discussed more than ever.

Our monthly podcast delves into these issues with experts such as practitioners, activists and academics. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth conversations about masculinity, gender equality, and the lives of men and boys, with topics ranging from preventing violence against women, to promoting active fatherhood, to supporting men's health.

The podcast is created and hosted by Dr Stephen Burrell, Sandy Ruxton and Professor Nicole Westmarland, who are researchers from the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK. If you would like to give us your feedback, suggest a guest, or have a question you'd like us to discuss, get in touch with us at nowandmen@gmail.com.

About your hosts

Stephen Burrell

Profile picture for Stephen Burrell
I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK, and a Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA). My research is about men and masculinities - especially preventing men's violence against women, and currently, engaging men and boys in caring for the planet. I'm also a trustee for White Ribbon UK and on the steering group for Changing Relations CIC. In my spare time I'm a big fan of drinking tea and being in nature.

Sandy Ruxton

Profile picture for Sandy Ruxton
Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University (UK). Independent researcher, expert on men and masculinities. Previous policy work on human rights, children and families, poverty and social exclusion, and asylum and migration. Programme experience with boys and young men in schools, community, and prisons. Steering Committee member, MenEngage Europe. Volunteer for OX4 Food Crew. Chess-player, bike-rider, tree-hugger. Great grandfather edited Boy's Own Paper, but was sacked.