Raewyn Connell

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Raewyn Connell
Born (1944-01-03) 3 January 1944 (age 74)
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Other names Robert William "Bob" Connell
R. W. Connell
Alma mater University of Melbourne (B.A (Hons.))
University of Sydney (PhD)
Occupation Sociologist, professor, University Chair (University of Sydney)
Known for Research on hegemonic masculinity, men's studies, southern theory

Raewyn Connell (born 3 January 1944) (also known as R.W. Connell) is an Australian sociologist. She is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney and known for the concept of hegemonic masculinity and southern theory.

Life and career

Connell was born Robert William Connell on 3 January 1944 in Sydney, Australia. She was educated at Manly and North Sydney High Schools, and has degrees from the University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. She has held jobs at universities in Australia, including being the founding professor of sociology at Macquarie University 1976–1991.

In the United States Connell was visiting professor of Australian studies at Harvard University 1991–1992, and professor of sociology at University of California Santa Cruz 1992–1995.[1] She was a rank-and-file member of the Australian Labor Party (before the party shifted to the right in the early 1980s[2]), and a trade unionist, currently in the National Tertiary Education Union.

Connell's sociology emphasises the historical nature of social reality and the transformative character of social practice. Her writing tries to combine empirical detail, structural analysis, critique, and relevance to practice. Much of her empirical work uses biographical (life-history) interviewing, in education, family life and workplaces. She has written or co-written twenty-one books and more than 150 research papers.[3] Her work is translated into 16 languages.[4]

Connell is a trans woman, who completed her transition late in life.[5] Almost all her earlier work was published under the gender-neutral name "R. W. Connell", up to the second edition of "Masculinities" in 2005. A few publications are under the names Bob or Robert. Since 2006 all her work has appeared under the name Raewyn Connell. Connell has recently written about transsexualism.[6]

Major contributions

Gender, class, and education

Connell first became known for research on large-scale class dynamics ("Ruling Class, Ruling Culture", 1977 and "Class Structure in Australian History", 1980), and the ways class and gender hierarchies are re-made in the everyday life of schools ("Making the Difference", 1982).

In the late 1980s she developed a social theory of gender relations ("Gender and Power", 1987), which emphasised that gender is a large-scale social structure not just a matter of personal identity. In applied fields she has worked on poverty and education ("Schools and Social Justice", 1993), sexuality and AIDS prevention, and labour movement strategy ("Socialism & Labor", 1978).


Connell is best known outside Australia for studies of the social construction of masculinity. She was one of the founders of this research field,[7] and her book "Masculinities" (1995, 2005) is the most-cited in the field. The concept of hegemonic masculinity has been particularly influential and has attracted much debate. She has been an advisor to UNESCO and UNO initiatives relating men, boys and masculinities to gender equality and peacemaking.

Southern theory

In recent years Connell has developed a sociology of intellectuals that emphasises the collective character of intellectual labour, and the importance of its social context. Her 2007 book Southern Theory extended this to the global dynamics of knowledge production, critiquing the "Northern" bias of mainstream social science which is predominately produced in "metropolitan" universities. In doing so, she argues, metropolitan social theory fails to adequately explain social phenomena in the Southern experience.

She analysed examples of theoretical work deriving from the global South: including the work of Paulin Hountondji, Ali Shariati, Veena Das, Ashis Nandy and Raúl Prebisch. In recent research Connell has been exploring Southern theories of neoliberalism[8] and gender.[9]

Selected bibliography

Year Title Publisher
Ruling Class, Ruling Culture: Studies of Conflict, Power and Hegemony in Australian Life Cambridge University Press
Class Structure in Australian History   (Co-written with Terry Irving)[10] Longman Cheshire
Making the Difference: Schools, Families and Social Division   (Co-written) Allen & Unwin
Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics Allen & Unwin
Masculinities Allen & Unwin
Male Roles, Masculinities and Violence: A Culture of Peace Perspective   (Co-edited) UNESCO Publishing
Southern theory: the global dynamics of knowledge in social science Polity
Gender: in world perspective Polity


  1. "About Raewyn". raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 1012.
  2. Kuhn, R. (2005) "History of class analysis in Australia"
  3. "Research publications (complete list). raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  4. "Raewyn in translation" raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  5. "About Raewyn" www.raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  6. Connell, Raewyn. 2012. "Transsexual women and feminist thought: toward new understanding and new politics". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 37 no. 4, 857–881; Connell, R. (2010), "Two cans of paint: A transsexual life story, with reflections on gender change and history", Sexualities, 13(1): 3–19.
  7. "Faculty of Education and Social Work – Professor Raewyn Connell". University of Sydney. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  8. "Research Project- Market Society on a World Scale" raewynconnell.net. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  9. "Roses from the South- Re-Thinking Gender Analysis from a World Perspective" Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  10. R. W. Connell and T. H. Irving, Class structure in Australian history, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1980.

External links

External video
Interview with Professor Raewyn Connell
Gender Justice Information by Engaging Men via YouTube