Masculinities in the wasteland: (Post)colonial capitalism in the West, China and Africa

Sofia Aboim, Mabel Machado, Ling Eleanor Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we argue that decolonial and postcolonial critical theorization matter for critically analysing masculinities in organizations. In close conversation with the decolonial and the postcolonial critique of capitalism, we examine how masculinity and masculine power are linked to different forms of epistemic and organizational violence in different geographic locations. In this way, we claim that under post/colonial forms of capitalism, organizational practices and cultures contribute to producing a hierarchical system, with some masculinities over and above others. We sustain our argument by examining exemplary dynamics of masculinity in the West, China and across Africa. First, we observe the legacies of European imperialism. Second, we turn to Asia - China, in particular - and observe how contemporary capitalism reproduces, across nations and beyond the west, the hierarchies of hegemonic masculinity. Finally, we zoom in to Southern Africa and highlight how capitalist organizations work until today to oppress and dispossess subaltern men at the intersection of gender, class and race. While this chapter focuses on the violence of class inequality and post/colonial exploitation reproducing a "wasteland" of disenfranchised masculinities, it also highlights the power of localized strategies of resistance against oppression and alternative organizational cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Men, Masculinities and Organizations
Subtitle of host publicationTheories, Practices and Futures of Organizing
EditorsJeff Hearn, Kadri Aavik, David L. Collinson, Anika Thym
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003193579
ISBN (Print)9781032045153, 9781032045160
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2023


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