Doing gender by not doing gender in eco-communities: Masculine identity talk within a “gender-neutral” worldview

Marion Pajumets*, Jeff Hearn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Is ecological sensitivity sufficient for revolutionising gender relations? Are eco-communities sites from where new masculinities can arise that are truly caring towards nature as well as women, other men and further genders? Could eco-villages be hatcheries of “ecological masculinity”? We present Estonian men eco-communards’ “gender-neutral holistic worldview” comprising discourses of “ecology”, “sustainable economy”, “re-establishing community”, and “spirituality” as an exemplary case for studying doing gender by not doing gender deliberately or explicitly. Analysis of open-ended interviews with eco-communard men, and the articles they published in Estonian media identifies the presence of, and negotiations between, varied masculine subject positions in talking of their green worldview. Thus, gender may be implicitly constructed as an undercurrent of “other” pursuits that are presented as having little or nothing to do with gender power relations. Practices, interactions and identities are rarely gender-neutral, despite some perceptions and appearances to the contrary. This approach examining the multiple masculinity/ies within a “gender-neutral” material-discursive field also has further relevance for discerning the implicit maintenance of social divisions and power relations in other contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMen, Masculinities, and Earth : Contending with the (m)Anthropocene
EditorsPaul M. Pulé, Martin Hultman
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-54485-0, 978-3-030-54488-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-54486-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2730-972X
ISSN (Electronic)2730-9738


  • 514,1 Sociology
  • gender
  • communes
  • ecology
  • men
  • masculinities
  • environmental awareness

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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