Making student men at the University of Zimbabwe: politics, masculinity and democracy
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Contemporary society has been characterized by the growth in the study and theorizing of men and masculinities. Masculinity has become problematic in recent years in the academic discourse, because it is seen as a stumbling block to the attainment of gender equity even in institutions of higher learning, such as the University of Zimbabwe. The birth of the critical study of men has been due to various forms of inequalities, which various masculinities perpetuate in society. These social divisions include those between men and women, which are perceived as natural or based on race, ethnicity, class, age and disability. These forms of social stratification are disrupting institutions of higher learning such as the University of Zimbabwe, especially in student politics, yet members of the public view a university as fertile soil for sowing seeds of equality and democracy. Student politics at the University of Zimbabwe is a contested terrain characterized by hegemonic forms of masculinities exhibited through high competition and violence. In the rocky terrain of student politics, female students and disabled men feel excluded. Therefore, they do not have representatives to champion their causes. The prevailing economic hardships, which have been the product of neo-liberal policies adopted by the government in 1991, influence the expression of masculinities in student politics. This study aims to examine how economic hardship impacts on the expression of masculinities in student politics through demonstrations, political galas, corruption and struggles for democracy in student politics at the University of Zimbabwe.