Making men and masculinities visible: A macro level enquiry into conceptualizations of gender and violence in Indian policies

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This paper explores how ‘gender’ is being conceptualized in Indian policies on men’s violence towards women. It demonstrates that the politics of masculinities, operating within a deeply political process of policy formation, allows men and masculinities to remain invisible in ‘gender’ policies. The paper argues that a dominating economic logic, a hierarchy of knowledge, a reductionist ‘rationality’ and an apolitical understanding of gender in the Indian policy process, allow for a narrow and compartmentalized idea of ‘gender’ in such policies. This inevitably leads to a narrow understanding of ‘gendered violence’ too by not bringing men and masculinities into question. Violence towards women gets conceptualized at the macro level as violence against a woman’s ‘modesty’ and her femininity which relationally places men and masculinities as ‘protectors’ whilst keeping the ‘threats’ to this ‘modesty’ obscured. The central tenet of this paper is that making the role of men and masculinities visible in policies and debates around gendered violence is a crucial step in better understanding and designing policies that check male violence against women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-338
Number of pages13
Issue number3-4
Early online date16 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Development
  • Gender
  • India
  • Masculinities
  • Policy
  • Violence

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