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Researchers from our highly-rated Sociology Department launched a monthly podcast ‘Now and Men’ to discuss issues around masculinity, gender equality and the lives of men and boys in the 21st century.

Each episode features a discussion with experts in topics ranging from gang membership, feminism, misogyny in football and much more.

We caught up with one of the hosts, Dr Stephen Burrell, to find out more about the series.

When did you first launch Now and Men and what was the inspiration behind it?

Sandy Ruxton and I, with the help of Professor Nicole Westmarland in the Sociology Department, launched ‘Now and Men’ in July 2021.

We felt that there’s a lot of unhealthy content aimed at men and boys online, and little out there trying to engage them in more positive, constructive conversations about issues of masculinity, gender equality, violence and wellbeing.

We wanted to help address this gap and disseminate the research that we and others are doing to a wider audience in accessible ways. 

What do you hope that people will gain from listening to your podcast?

We hope that our podcast will help people think more critically and expansively about gendered expectations in society.

That they will get an insight into the huge diversity of ways in which men are living their lives - and how some are challenging dominant ideas about masculinity.

That men will better understand the positive contribution they can make to building gender equality and preventing violence and abuse.

What sort of guests have already featured and what would you like to cover going forward?

We speak to a wide range of experts, such as academics, practitioners and activists, about the work they are doing, its relevance to topical social issues, and their own personal stories.

Gender equality and masculinity affect almost everything in society, so there are many more issues we’d like to cover in the future!

Currently I’m researching the climate crisis and environmental harm, and we’d certainly like to do more episodes connected to that.

Describe your research area and why it’s important

My research focuses primarily on the prevention of violence against women and girls – and how to engage with men and boys about that.

Central to this is opening up what it means to be a man and bringing into question notions that men should always be ‘powerful’, ‘in control’, ‘invulnerable’.

This matters because violence against women remains highly pervasive, yet men are relatively silent about it – and these masculine expectations also cause a great deal of harm for men and boys.

So, we think it’s vital for everyone to have conversations of the kind we’re trying to initiate on the podcast. 

What is the latest episode about?

We spoke to Dr Demet Aslı Çaltekin, an Assistant Professor in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice in Durham Law School. Demet has conducted research with conscientious objectors to compulsory military service in Turkey.

This was fascinating for us, because in lots of countries we’re seeing militarism have an increasing influence on society, often involving expectations about men being ‘tough’, ‘brave’, ‘heroic’ – and willing to kill and fight.

Demet’s research shows us what happens when men resist these narrow ideas of masculinity.

How can I listen?

Now and Men is free and if you subscribe to it through your podcast app, when a new episode comes out it’ll appear in your feed. It’s available across a range of platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and by clicking here.

Find out more:

Our Department of Sociology is ranked 1st in the UK for Criminology and in the top 10 for Sociology in The Guardian University Guide 2022.

In our rapidly changing global environment, there has never been a more important time to look at the world through a social lens and engage in theoretically-driven learning that makes a difference.

Feeling inspired? Visit our Sociology webpages to learn more about studying with us.