The exhibition of photos and film on “masculinities,liberation through photography” is an excellent example of how artistic approaches to central social phenomena enrich our understanding. The collection of images on masculinities enlightens and reveals the social construction of masculinity. All persons interested in such basic questions should grab the opportunity to pay a visit to the Barbican Centre in London until May 2020 (Later also in Berlin). Perfect choice of a location as the Barbican Centre represents a fine example of “brutal architecture” in London. This is already worth a visit for those not familiar with such concepts. Prepare to get lost somewhere in the multitude of cultural offerings. It feels like Centre Pompidou in Paris, but has additionally a splendid concert hall.

Depending on the time and location of our upbringing we are subject to different social constructions of masculinity. Browse through family collections of photos from grand fathers, fathers and your own youth and maybe your children. From the perspective of how masculinity has been framed at different epochs and across continents, it is obvious that masculinity just as feminity are constructed by social discourse, social choices and media representations. Make it a choice – nowadays – yes we can !
Read on with a critic published in “The Guardian” or “The Sunday Times“.


Experience of Diversity

Experience is key not only for labour market success or life satisfaction. It largely determines our values as well. The recent survey from the Pew Research Center (link) reflects the importance of the experience of diversity in, for example, religious or spiritual matters. More heterogenous experience of diversity across lots of dimensions will contribute to a better mutual understanding and respect. Meeting persons who are different and experiencing the many facets of the other person similar to oneself will enhance the common ground. Curiosity to meet the other person rather than “more of the same” in encouters and friendship, this is the way forward. The sociology of social networks, part of my teaching at Jacobs University Bremen is able to support this perspective for several decades now.  Student accomodation with large diversity can be a fundamental experience which coins personalities. Tolerance is largely a product of experience rather than only teaching about stereotypes.