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Unreasonable Men by Victor J. Seidler

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Chapter 1

Introduction

Masculinity, modernity and social theory

ENLIGHTENMENT AND SOCIAL THEORY

Sociology has emerged as a child of the Enlightenment and it seeks its ancestry within the forms of thought and feeling that characterised the Enlightenment. But it is also in part a reaction to the rationalism that supposedly gave birth to the extremes of the French Revolution.1 It is less common to rethink social theory in terms of the particular Enlightenment identification of masculinity with reason and the notion that society should be made an ‘order of reason’, with the idea that society should be recast and remade in the ‘image of men’. This is to lay bare a particular relationship between masculinity and our inherited forms of social and ...

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