Lighthouse works on translocal projects with part of the team active in Barcelona and another in northern Germany. The team develops proposals that contribute to ecological and social sustainability, typically through collective transformative research.
The Masculinity in Construction Project
Gender injustice cuts across all people of all ages and sexes, albeit in different ways. The mechanisms of the social, oppressive construction of gender, and in particular the construction of hegemonic masculinity, are part of the origin of many of the current challenges we face, from truancy to everyone’s relationship to violence. By understanding the nuances of this complex structure, we can give ourselves the space and perspective to individually and collectively alter our thoughts or attitudes. It empowers us as we create knowledge collectively and is useful for us, our closest community and for society. What does it mean today to be a young man in the post-Covid, urban Barcelona? What do our young men expect from themselves? What do we expect from a them? In what ways do the girls and young women around us benefit from or get harmed by these expectations and social norms and why? What would you do or say differently, if you could do it without social sanction? What does your sex and gender have to do with our real opportunities? What does your religion or upbringing have to do with it?
“Masculinities in construction” is a transformative action research project that offers an online space for reflection and collective learning about masculinities. We invite educators, in their work as state supervisors, who accompany minors of any sex or gender, to set up an action research space in which the researchers will be the group of young people with whom they work.
At Lighthouse we understand, from a global vision of social injustices that we must work with tangible local aspects of day-to-day life and from there analyse what we are dealing with in this project: gender. At the same time, it is necessary to prevent the politically correct discourse on gender equality and masculinities from being learned and expanded without having undergone a transformative process. This transformative process creates resistance and transgressions that can be the basis of shared solidarity and that pose challenges to the regulations that suffocate all human beings.
This project offers young people an action research space. In action research, the participants are also the researchers and through this process they develop greater meaning and ownership of the results. At the centre are those people who are usually only considered in research as objects to be analysed, and not as analysing subjects, looking for non-visible ideas. It is particularly important to jointly explore authentic answers to the questions at hand.
Some of the questions we will work with are:
At what point do you show that you are male?
How do you find it hard to relate to the boys and young men around you? Why?
What does it mean to “be a man”?
At what point are you glad to have a male friend around?
In what situations do you feel insecure having men/male friends around you?
Then, from here, we will be able to “circulate” through a spiral, methodologically speaking, deepening to the rhythm of the people who participate, both educators and young people. Each turn of the spiral will be one of the research actions, taking the group to a new point of generated knowledge, and setting up the stage for the next level of inquiry.
The “Masculinities in Construction” project sets in motion a transformation process in virtual spaces for reflection and learning with young people. It is in this space that the different aspects of hegemonic masculinity will be investigated and revealed, such as its subtlety, pervasiveness and power. We will develop analytical skills that allow decoding the parts of the mechanism that set it in motion.
To achieve this, we have invited educators who are working with young people.
These educators will accompany young people with whom they have daily contact in their research task. Common online rooms will be opened, in which the methodological basics and the most important points for the work between the agreed virtual meetings are addressed.
We have started this project with a call in Catalonia. From June to July 2020, this is the first to take place and is open to the Spanish state and Latin American countries.
The project is planned in four virtual meetings based on a transformative collective and creative research methodology.
The first virtual meeting begins with a joint work on the concept of “masculinity”, which focuses on the dynamics that interact between the participants and is presented as the starting point of the project. We will work on different concepts and can draw some conclusions from them.
After this initial breakdown of some of the major concepts, we will present the resources we have and the first research action to be carried out by the young people in their daily environment, to be done before the next meeting.
The virtual meetings 2 and 3 follow a similar dynamic of having research actions that should be carried out between the virtual meetings. The research actions raise questions to examine and propose the next research steps that will then be carried out in the usual intervention environment.
In the last virtual meeting, a certain time is devoted to the discussion among the participants regarding possible future measures and the evaluation of the project.
At the end of the virtual meeting, the participants acquire skills and have improved their reflective skills and resources for working with young people. The main goal is to creatively and collectively produce local knowledge of the concept of hegemonic masculinity. Along with the young people, the educators will be equipped with the skills to decipher some of the mechanisms behind gender construction.
The research activities to be carried out in the youth groups are based on participatory dynamics that generate reactions and facilitate communication through inter alia photographic techniques, wall drawings or the free organization of concepts.
We want to work actively with educators who want to question gender, masculinity, social injustice and the mechanisms behind it. These educators should think about the group of young people they work with and whether they are willing to be interviewed and to participate as researchers on the topic of masculinity.
If you think that you and your youth group can enjoy this project and learn from it, contact Anna Eguia: firstname.lastname@example.org / 620022599