BASEES Annual Conference 2022

The Core Colonial Narratives in the Construction of Russian Masculinities

Fri8  Apr04:20pm(20 mins)
Teaching Room 5


Marina Yusupova


This paper explores how the core modern/colonial narratives of civilizational progress, development, and white supremacy, spurred by European imperialisms, shape masculinities in contemporary Russia. Drawing on analysis of biographical interviews with a diverse sample of Russian men interviewed in Russia and the UK, this paper discusses how the research participants use the notion of ‘progress’ in gender relations to construct their individual masculinities. What emerges from the findings is a linear Eurocentric interpretation of history predicated on nationalist comparisons between the West and the non-West that polarizes Western countries as ‘developed’ and the ‘Muslim world’ as ‘backward’, while positioning Russia as being somewhere in between. Shifting from a common conceptualisation of Russian masculinities as ‘traditional’, ‘conservative’ and ‘macho’, the paper argues for a rethinking of Russian masculinities in light of postcolonial and decolonial critiques.