Raewyn Connell

Australia


Raewyn Connell is an Australian sociologist, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney, and known for the concept of hegemonic masculinity and southern theory.

Born on January 3rd, 1944 in Sydney, Australia, Connell was educated at Manly and North Sydney High Schools, and has degrees from the University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. Connell 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. Connell was a rank-and-file member of the Australian Labor Party (before the party shifted to the right in the early 1980's), 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. Her work is translated into 16 languages.

Connell is a trans woman, who completed her transition late in life. 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.

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).

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