Site operatives’ attitudes towards traditional masculinity ideology in the Australian construction industry

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Construction Management and Economics, 2019, 37 (8), pp. 419 - 432
Issue Date:
2019-08-03
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© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. There is a widely accepted assumption in the construction literature that the industry is highly masculinised. However, there has been a surprising lack of empirical evidence around workers’ own attitudes towards masculinity in the sector. Addressing this lack of research, a survey to measure construction site operatives’ attitudes towards traditional masculinity ideology was undertaken in Australia using the Male Role Norms Inventory Scale-Short Form (MRNI-SF). It is found that the focus of attitudes towards masculinity in the construction industry may be shifting to reflect trends in the wider population and may be more inclusive and less hegemonic than has been previously argued. It is also found that the focus of masculinity in the construction industry is closely related to the physical and high-risk nature of work and that sexuality and humour may also be an important source of masculine identity. These results are important since they contribute a more nuanced understanding of the dimensions and exact nature of attitudes towards masculinity in the construction industry. It is concluded that future research into the impact of masculinity in areas such as gender diversity, safety and mental health would benefit from a more inclusive theoretical lens which recognises the dynamic nature of masculinity and which highlights the institutional legacies of past hegemonies that have to be challenged to move the industry forward.
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