Is this is a viable MSc dissertation?

(7 Posts)
DissertationDilemma Mon 29-Jan-18 16:53:00

I am in the planning stages of my MSc dissertation. I want to explore the links (if any) between white Masculinity and Brexit by interviewing white men who voted Brexit about their reasons and motivations for doing so.

I think the link between the two is quite culturally and socially apparent in certain forms of nationalism, the rise of UKIP, the development of a 'they're taking our' jobs type of anxious Masculinity. My supervisor hasn't said I can't do it, but when I raised the idea they weren't exactly encouraging. So I wanted to ask you if you think Masculinity played a role in why some white men voted for Brexit?

OP’s posts: |
smellfunny Mon 29-Jan-18 17:01:53

I think the most important thing is whether there's a strong enough theoretical argument to support your hypothesis. Have you already started looking at articles for your literature review?

If there isn't a direct theoretical link to your hypothesis then it will be harder for your to defend your argument and you may be marked down for it.

What subject is this for?

DissertationDilemma Mon 29-Jan-18 17:16:43


I've got some theories on anxious Masculinity, disenfranchised young men and political frustration that I can use for my literature review. I've also got various works on why Brexit happened, which include disillusionment, loss of identity etc.

It's for an MSc in Gender and International Relations

OP’s posts: |
velourvoyageur Tue 30-Jan-18 00:25:10

Are you looking to investigate whether male Remainers were less masculine/less gendered (really clumsily put, sorry) than Leave voters?

I think the first thing to sort out is methodology, so if you were to prove that e.g. there has been some sort of postmodern crisis of the British incarnation of masculinity which had some discernable bearing on the Brexit vote that could be at least partly isolated from any other contributing factors, how would the process of getting real, plausible proof look like? Is it a new phenomenon or can you trace similar trends in the previous century (in which case perhaps have a look at what the people who did studies of those trends did)? When you have the interview material, from what theoretical standpoint will you analyse it? Will you be interviewing women too, or people who voted Remain, or anyone who didn't vote at all (how does masculinity square with participation in politics)?

Probs redundant my saying this, but I'd lock down watertight theoretical definitions of 'masculinity' & 'anxious masculinity' from the start (e.g. is it purely to do with abstract boundary drawing of phallogocentric subjectivity, or is it also the case that more men than women are in those professions which were more affected than not by EU involvement (so what implication does this have for determining whether masculinity plays an inflated role, i.e. if these were female-dominated industries, would the same anxiety be present) and what kind of culture is developed in these male-dominated professions?). Really important I think to make very clear what you mean by masculinity.

Could also bring the US, French and UK elections into it?

Sorry if these are all really basic comments you've long had covered!

Kez100 Tue 30-Jan-18 07:30:09

Make sure there's enough literature especially with it being such a current topic. My DD struggled to find enough of this evidence for her undergraduate dissertation which was on social media (related to her specific subject). There was a large volume of "people" talking about it and proffering opinions but not all that much in the way of academic evidence. Well, that was the feedback, and she felt the same as she was immersed in it. She pulled off a 2:2 but she felt it held her back.

Kez100 Tue 30-Jan-18 07:34:49

As the previous poster says you need to define masculinity. Those I know who voted and are still very vocal brexiteers cone across more as if they have a sort of "British arrogance" (a sort of superiority) than "masculine" (which I tend to - possibly incorrectly - associate with muscles, strength, etc.)

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 30-Jan-18 08:38:15

This isn't my direct area, but if a student suggests a topic for a dissertation at that level, it might be there's plenty of obvious evidence to back up their point, but the supervisor might be less than keen despite that. Writing a lengthy paper stating the obvious isn't going to get you far. Of course I can see that you might uncover something interesting and unexpected about the connections between white masculinity and Brexit. But you might not.

Isn't it worth trying to find out why the supervisor isn't thrilled, rather than asking us if we think you're right? Being right isn't likely to be the point here.

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