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Abstracts, Journal issues, NORMA 7.2

Constructions of masculinities in conversations about public transport

Emmy Dahl, Malin Henriksson & Lena Levin

This article highlights how environmental issues influence transport planning, and how they make transport planners rethink previous categorizations of user groups. The introduction of an environmental discourse leads to a questioning of men’s travel activities, i.e. car driving. However, the critique against men’s travelling does not address all men. Instead, two types of masculinities are constructed in the local planning discourse: the first one is a ‘problematic’ obsolete old driver. The second one is a young ‘quality conscious’ man who opts for new technological solutions. The relationship between these two constructions of masculinities is hierarchical. The transport planners interpret it as their responsibility to make sure that public transport is regarded as attractive to younger men and their imagined ‘needs’. The elderly men however, are made scapegoats and are blamed for their unsustainable travelling. These rather stereotypical constructions of men also include a negative perception of elderly men. The analysis is based on discussions in eight focus groups, accomplished in 2009 with 36 transport planners and politicians (24 men and 12 women) working with the planning of the future public transport system in Malmö city in the south of Sweden.

Keywords
car driving, equality discourses, focusgroup study, masculinity, masculinity in crisis, technology, public transport, transport planning, sustainable environment

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 7(2), 160-181.

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