19 RECOMMENDATIONS: KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCH

The area of ​​critical studies of men and masculinities is underdeveloped in Serbia, while the field of research on men and their ”representation” as well as public discourse on gender equality are increasingly overtaken by right-wing researchers and theoreticians with clear antifeminist positions, misogynous views and negative attitude towards the gender equality agenda. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a whole series of additional research studies to shed a better light on the problems and challenges faced by men in Serbia, precisely from the perspective of men themselves. The experience in the implementation of gender policies has shown that the invisibility of men and “taking them for granted” do not contribute at all to the promotion and implementation of gender equality policies. Besides, the experience has shown that binary divisions to “pro-women” and “pro-men” discourses in the public space only deepen the gap in understanding the problems related to gender, genderness, gender mainstreaming and gender identity. In order to constructively approach the gender mainstreaming of all state policies and strategies, which is an inevitable project in the future, it is necessary to rely on facts and understand the perspective of both women and men. But at the same time, we should never lose sight of the dominant patriarchal matrix of power and the “patriarchal dividend”, which are enjoyed differently by different men, but also by some women who are within the system of rewards and power produced by patriarchy.

In order for the knowledge about men from the perspective of critical studies of masculinities relying on feminist theory to take root in Serbia, it must be contextualised, that is, based on research and objective findings that have scientific authority. Only then will it be possible to apply gender mainstreaming in a way that will support gender inclusion and non-discrimination, rather than domination and exclusion. It is necessary to establish new matrices and values of both practices and power.

This research and other findings have facilitated the mapping of various possible thematic fields that are important for forming knowledge about men in Serbia. Such projects could be based on different methodologies and the goal setting would, of course, depend on them. It is important to note that, in principle, there is also a great need for qualitative research that would better map the cultural and social context, as well as dominant discourses. These are possible projects:

  1. Experience of violence in men’s lives and violence suffered by men from other men throughout their lives (which is also gender-based violence)
  2. Men’s participation in decisions about birth and abortion
  3. The New Gender Barometer (which would allow the monitoring of trends compared to the previous ones)
  4. Experiences of men in single-parent families
  5. Experiences of men related to illness and aging; physical dependence and caring (about themselves and others)
  6. Men as victims of ageism, with special focus on the use of new technology
  7. New forms of addiction among men
  8. Male support networks
  9. Men and war trauma, consequences and overcoming
  10. Upbringing of boys
  11. Boys and young men in the school system (with special focus on drop-outs)
  12. Discursive constructions of masculinity in different social groups
  13. Men and work (employment, unemployment, shadow economy, seasonal work, new forms of work…)
  14. Men and radical ideologies
  15. Men refugees
  16. Men and sex industry (men as users and providers of sexual services, sex trafficking and transactional sex)
  17. Multiple marginalised men
  18. Men – promoters of new gender identities
  19. Conflict of roles in men (family and profession)
  20. Masculinities of men in the positions of power

The implementation of a larger number of these projects from the perspective of critical studies of men and masculinities would facilitate not only an increase of knowledge in this field, but would also provide the possibility of designing better educational contents as well as better founded and more effective gender policies.