CS&M GABRIELA GONZALEZ VAILLANTa
A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF INTERGENERATIONAL IMAGES OF
MASCULINITIES IN URUGUAY
A BSTRACT While there have been many studies analyzing changes in gender roles for
Latin American women, the impact of these changes on men, and on their gender iden‐
tity, received relatively little analysis. This paper explores intergenerational changes
and continuities in the conceptualization of gender roles within the realm of family life.
This is accomplished through in‐depth interviews with three generations of male
Uruguayans; a grandfather, a father and a son in the same family. Interviews reveal a
historical shift in the meaning of masculinity and in gender roles in Uruguayan society.
Though the study draws on a small sample of 5 families (n = 15), data shed light in the
day‐to‐day impact on men’s lives of large structural shifts.
KEYWORDS M A S C U L I N I T Y, G E N D E R R O L E S , FAT H E R H O O D , FA M I LY , G E N E R AT I O N ,
U RUGUAY , L ATIN A MERICA
Gender identity is a social construction under constant renegotiation, con‐
testation, and reinterpretation. The definition of “masculinity” varies between
cultures, within cultures, and during the lifespan of an individual. Any study
of masculinity, regardless of context, must contemplate its malleable and per‐
muting nature (Kimmel, 1998). Many studies have shown how the idea of gen‐
der as a social construct accounts both for the preexisting social constraints that
shape gender identities as well as for the resources individuals have for trans‐
forming and re‐appropriating those identities (Connell, 1995; Hearn &
Collinson, 1994). Even though the study of masculinity is a relatively recent
endeavor in Latin America, “constructivism” has been the dominant theoreti‐
cal discourse for studies on masculinity (Fuller, 2001; Gutmann & Vigoya,
2005). As Gutmann and Viveros point out, the predominant lens for under‐
standing “man‐as‐man” in Latin America has been critical feminism empha‐
sizing gender oppression and unequal power relationships, at times neglecting
study of how prevailing images of manhood(s) in Latin America may be op‐
pressive for men themselves. “Only in the late 1980s did research begin in Latin
America that described men as having gender and producing gender. Until
State University of New York at Stony Brook.
All correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Gabriela Gonzalez Vaillant, State
University of New York at Stony Brook, Sociology Department, Ward Melville Social and Behav‐
ioral Sciences Building S‐409, Stony Brook, New York 11794‐4356. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CULTURE, SOCIETY & MASCULINITY, VOL. 2, ISSUE 1, PP. 19–41 • HTTP://WWW.MENSSTUDIES.COM
ISSN 1941‐5583 (PRINT) ISSN 1941‐5591 (ONLINE) • COPYRIGHT 2010 BY THE MEN’S STUDIES PRESS
CSM.0201.19/$14.00 • DOI: 10.3149/CSM.0201.19 • HTTP://DX.