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Masculinity, Criminality, and Russian Men

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/10/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Sextures: E-journal for Sexualities, Cultures, and Politics,
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)46-61
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores links between discourses of masculinity and criminality in the narratives of non-criminal Russian men. Based on the analysis of biographical interviews with Russian men residing in Samara, this study examines different ways in which some of these men draw on criminal ideology or street lads’ hierarchies to construct their masculine identities and reveals the complex relations between masculinity, homosexuality and criminality in the post-Soviet Russian context. My data and personal life experience in Russia both suggest that appropriation of criminal or semi-criminal discourse as a resource for making masculinity among my respondents is not accidental and cannot be explained solely by their class and sociocultural backgrounds. I argue that contemporary masculinities in Russia are not only informed by criminal quasi-law (poniatiia) and rather similar ‘lads’ rules’ (patsanskie pravila), but are also in a state of complex power relations with criminal values and hierarchies. This article demonstrates that acceptance and internalization of criminal culture norms in the post-Soviet context acquired a disciplinary character, and allows for the construction of hegemonic masculinity – a specific type of masculinity, which legitimates hierarchical gender relations.