Political Men: Masculinity and Democracy in Europe in the Twentieth Century

Tagungstelegramm: Lecture by Martin Conway in the lecture series „Demokratie. Versprechen – Visionen – Vermessungen“

The surge which has occurred over the last decades in historical writing on democracy has greatly increased our understanding of the ideological, social and institutional contours of the democratic project which came to the fore in Western Europe after 1945. However, the issue of gender has not been a prominent feature of this work. The emergence of women as active citizens during the second half of the twentieth century is often cited as a demonstration of the wider construction of a democratic society. But throughout the century democracy was primarily a regime of political men. In terms of institutional leadership, membership of associational structures, and the wider languages and practices of democracy, it was men who had the dominant role. Men were citizens; and defined their gendered identity through their engagement in the practices of political life. The purpose of this lecture is therefore to analyse the ways in which the practice of twentieth-century democracy always remained inseparable from masculinity.

The lecture by Martin Conway (University of Oxford) on may 25, 2023 was part of the IfZ lecture series „Demokratie. Versprechen − Visionen − Vermessungen“. Moderation: Samuel Miner, Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History.

In addition to the face-to-face event, the lecture was also available as a Zoom webinar - the recording can now be viewed here:

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