Masculinity Research News

CFP: Gender, Sexuality and the Blockchain (edited collection)

Introduction

While most people equate the blockchain with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the technology also has far broader applications in the financial sector, as well as land registration, voting, prediction markets, identity verification, smart contracts and any number of other domains where decentralized and transparent processes add value.

The majority of attention given to blockchain focuses on technological applications, with less given to the social and cultural aspects. Gender, Sexuality and the Blockchain adds to our understanding of blockchain by exploring how it replicates and extends our current understanding of technology, gender and sexuality.

Expressions of interest for contributions from all disciplines are invited to this edited collection on the following themes:

  • women’s representation in and feminist responses to blockchain
  • masculinities and the blockchain
  • LGBTQ representation in and queer responses to blockchain
  • heterosexuality and the blockchain.

Practicalities

This edited collection is not currently under contract for publication, although preliminary discussion has taken place with Palgrave Macmillan who have expressed an interest in receiving a more detailed proposal containing specific abstracts.

Please send the following by 1 March 2018 to joseph.gelfer@gmail.com :

  • your name and institutional affiliation
  • a title and abstract of around 200 words
  • a couple of sentences about your research interests
  • details of some of your best publications
  • a realistic indication of how long it would take you to write up your abstract into an article of 7000-8000 words.

About the editor: Dr Joseph Gelfer is a masculinities researcher whose books include Masculinities in a Global Era (ed) (Springer, 2014) and Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy (Routledge, 2009).

Sample Abstract

Crypto-masculinities: Bitcoin is Hard, Altcoins are Soft (Joseph Gelfer)

At first glance, Bitcoin appears to share a masculine culture that has a good deal of commonality with the “tech bros” of Silicon Valley, or the sometimes misogynistic masculinity displayed in online spaces such as 4Chan. This kind of hypermasculinity is promoted by crypto-gurus such as John McAfee and his references to guns, drugs and sex workers. This image is further promoted by the promotion of Bitcoin by populist masculinity celebrities such as Mike Cernovich. However, on further inspection we can identify divergences in masculine performances in the crypto domain. While Bitcoin is indeed often framed in a hypermasculine manner, altcoins are often framed as softer. In particular, Bitcoin maximalists often mock the Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin as being effeminate, and more generally altcoins as being the preserve of social justice warriors. Exceptions to this split can be identified in the cases of privacy coins such as Monero and Zcash, which have a more macho image. It is therefore tempting to position Bitcoin as a medium of hegemonic masculinity and altcoins of counter-hegemonic masculinity (whether actively working against hegemony masculinity or forced into the position of “other” by hegemonic masculinity). This largely conservative image of crypto-masculinities is connected to the recent politics of Gamergate and more historical takes on masculinity such as that presented by libertarian economist and Bitcoin advocate George Gilder.