Care and the Self: A Philosophical Perspective on Constructing Active Masculinities

Iva Apostolova, Maria Elaina Gauthier-Mamaril

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Our paper focuses on the philosophical perspective of constructing active (as opposed to reactive) caring masculinities agencies in the contemporary feminist discourse. Since contemporary feminisms are not simply anti-essentialist, but more importantly, polyphonic, we believe that it is far more appropriate to talk about ‘masculinities’ as opposed to ‘masculinity’. We are proposing a revised understanding of the self in which the self is not defined primarily in the dichotomous, categorical one-other relationship. We use Paul Ricoeur’s anthropology to describe the self as relational, as well as Joan Tronto’s recent perspective on care which fits well with a Ricoeurian reconstruction of the self. We also engage with Raewyn Connell’s discourse on masculinity and more specifically, hegemonic masculinity. By using ‘caring masculine agencies’ as an alternative to ‘masculinity as reactive anti-femininity’, we are proposing a paradigm shift that hopefully is flexible enough to respect the dynamism inherent to any act of gender-identification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages15
JournalFeminist Philosophy Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date24 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2018


  • Feminism
  • masculinities
  • Ricoeur
  • Joan Tronto
  • self identity
  • Ethics
  • feminist philosophy
  • Philosophy
  • hegemonic masculinities
  • reactive masculinities
  • ethics of care
  • relational self


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