Masculinity, affect and the search for certainty in an age of precarity

Lita Crociani-Windland, Candida Yates


This article examines the affective dynamics of masculinity as a psychosocial process within a mediatised realm that includes parts of the informal cyberspace known as the Manosphere. Focusing on the relationship between masculinity and discourses of men’s rights, we explore the implications of the shifting psychosocial and political legacy of that relationship since the late 20th century for the shaping of masculinities today, where the psychosocial dynamics of victimisation and of being ‘done to’ are recurring themes. We ground our analysis of contemporary masculinity through a case study of the online media coverage of the controversial Canadian Professor of Psychology, Jordan Peterson, and discuss the nature of his appeal for his followers on Reddit and YouTube. Peterson has become a celebrity public intellectual and his pronouncements on issues such as free speech, education and gender politics resonate for those men who feel confused and persecuted by the forces of feminism and identity politics. We argue that Peterson’s affective appeal is linked more widely to a public mood underpinned by a defensive wish for certainty in an age of precarity.


Masculinity, Manosphere, Jordan Peterson, Object Relations and Relational Psychoanalysis

Full Text:



All content © Free Associations.