Book: A Man Among Other Men by Jordanna Matlon

May 06, 2024 Research

Book: A Man Among Other Men: The Crisis of Black Masculinity in Racial Capitalism (Cornell University Press, 2022)

Congratulations to Jordanna Matlon, current IAST visiting fellow and former IAST post-doctoral research fellow, for winning the International Studies Association’s John Ruggie ISA Annual Best Book Award for her first book, A man among other men: The crisis of Black masculinity in racial capitalism (Cornell University Press, 2022). Jordanna’s book, set in the West African city of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, examines how capitalist processes of production, consumption, and commodification have shaped ideas and narratives around the “crisis” of Black masculinity. To research the book, Jordanna conducted ethnographic fieldwork for a year in Abidjan, during which she interviewed men underemployed in the informal economy about their experiences, survival strategies, and means of self-affirmation. She found that her interlocutors faced deep anxieties about their presumed roles as breadwinners, exacerbated by enduring colonial racialized ideas of masculinity. Using a broad historical lens, Jordanna argues that the expectations of male breadwinning that emerged with wage labor in industrializing Europe, and which were later disseminated across the colonies, persistently clash with experiences of un- and underemployment among racially marginalized men. Using theory, history, and ethnography, this book tells a story of Black abjection set against the anticipation of male privilege.

To read more about Jordanna’s work, visit her website here