Nationalism as competing masculinities: homophobia as a technology of othering for hetero- and homonationalism
Theory and Society
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© 2019, The Author(s). How are masculinity and nationalism intertwined? This question has received scant theoretical attention, and existing theories tend to focus on their shared ideals and are embedded in a heteronormative, homophobic, and patriarchal framework. Such views imply a static relationship between the two phenomena and are incompatible with the recent phenomenon of homonationalism and the incorporation of some homosexual bodies within the nation. Addressing this theoretical gap, this article develops a more holistic framework of the relationship between nationalism and masculinity. Drawing on relational sociology, it conceptualises nationalism as competing masculinities. It argues that the link between masculinities and nationalism is not found in their overlapping substantive ideals, but rather that the two phenomena are co-constructed through their overlapping Othering processes. The proposed theoretical framework does not only provide a more dynamic understanding of the link between masculinity and nationalism, but it also helps to overcome the apparent duality between homonationalism and heteronationalism. It is shown that both phenomena are in fact two sides of the same coin, with the main difference between them being the location of homophobia as a technology of Othering within different types of Self/Other relations. Overall, the article provides an analytical tool that allows for the contextualisation and understanding of seemingly contradictory features of nationalism and its relationship to masculinity.