Centrum för genusvetenskap

Men’s friendships in contemporary Sweden

I am a PhD student  in gender studies at the Centre for gender research at Uppsala university and at Tema genus at Linköping university. In my thesis, I investigate meaning makings around friendships between men. I am interested in which ideas about closeness, trust and love that are used to give meaning to friendships, but also in how power, privileges, vulnerabilities, homoeroticism and homophobia are negotiated. I use individual interviews and pair interviews with men who are friends.

Friendship may seem private but is in fact constructed in a cultural, historical and political context. Intimacy, with whom one can be intimate and how feelings for others are expressed and de-scribed are constantly negotiated. Men’s friendships have often been described as shallow and permeated by fear and homo-phobia. In gender research, this has been attributed to dominant ideas about what it is to be masculine, where hardness, autonomy and not showing feelings are central. However, there are signs that closeness between men is becoming less stigmatized in the Nordic countries. Men’s friendships are an important object of study for feminist researchers. They are ambivalent, and can on the one hand be seen as arenas where sexism, privilege and homophobia are re/produced. On the other hand, they can be seen as promising to the feminist project, as relations where new, caring and relationship-oriented masculine positions can be developed.

Since 2008, I teach gender studies at the Centre for gender research in Uppsala.

Contact: Klara Goedecke

Key words: Men's friendships, friendship, masculinity, intimacy, homosociality

Phase: Mid-phase