Raewyn Connell

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Raewyn Connell
Born (1944-01-03) 3 January 1944 (age 77)
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne (B.A (Hons.))
University of Sydney (PhD)
OccupationSociologist, professor, University Chair (University of Sydney)
Known forResearch on hegemonic masculinity, men's studies, southern theory, Social Class
RelativesPatricia Margaret Selkirk (sister)
AwardsJessie Bernard Award

Raewyn Connell, usually cited as R. W. Connell, is an Australian sociologist. She gained prominence as an intellectual of the Australian New Left.[1] She was appointed University Professor at the University of Sydney in 2004, and retired from her University Chair on July, 2014.[2] She has been Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney since her retirement. She is known for the concept of hegemonic masculinity and her book, Southern Theory.

Life and career[edit]

Connell was born on 3 January 1944 in Sydney, Australia. Her father, William Fraser (Bill) Connell (OBE), was a Professor of Education at the University of Sydney for many years, where he focused on educational research and teaching. Her mother, Margaret Lloyd Connell (née Peck) was a high school science teacher. Connell has two sisters, Patricia Margaret Selkirk and Helen Connell.[3][4][5][6]

Connell was educated at Manly and North Sydney High Schools, and has degrees from the University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. She has held academic positions 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.[7] She was a rank-and-file member of the Australian Labor Party until the early 1980s 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.[8] Her work has been translated into over 15 languages.[2][9]

Connell serves on the editorial board or advisory board of numerous academic journals, including Signs, Sexualities, The British Journal of Sociology, Theory and Society, and The International Journal of Inclusive Education.[10][11]

Connell is a trans woman, who formally began transitioning late in life.[12] 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 also written about transsexualism.[13]

Major contributions[edit]

Class and education[edit]

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,[14] 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.[15] She has been an advisor to UNESCO and UNO initiatives relating men, boys and masculinities to gender equality and peacemaking.

Southern theory[edit]

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. Connell has also examined Southern theories of neoliberalism[16] and gender.[17]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Year Title Publisher
Politics of the Extreme Right : Warringah, 1966  (Co-written with Florence Gould) Sydney University Press
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)[18] Longman Cheshire
Making the Difference: Schools, Families and Social Division   (Co-written) Allen & Unwin
Which way is up? Essays on sex, class and culture Allen & Unwin
Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics Allen & Unwin
Masculinities Allen & Unwin
The Men and the Boys 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
The Good University: what Universities actually do and why its time for radical change Zed Books


  1. ^ Williams-Brooks, Llewellyn (2016). "Radical Theories of Capitalism in Australia: Towards a Historiography of the Australian New Left", Honours Thesis, University of Sydney, viewed 20 April 2017, https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/16655
  2. ^ a b Her Bio in her official personal website. http://www.raewynconnell.net/p/about-raewyn_20.html
  3. ^ "Connell, Raewyn (1944 - )". Australian Women's Archives Project 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Honorary awards - Emeritus Professor William Fraser Connell OBE". University of Sydney. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  5. ^ "William Fraser Connell" (PDF). Cunningham Library - Australian Council for Educational Research. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  6. ^ "William Fraser Connell papers, 1891-2010". State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ "About Raewyn". raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Research publications (complete list)." raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Raewyn in translation" raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Masthead". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Professor Raewyn Connell, Academic Staff Profile". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  12. ^ "About Raewyn" www.raewynconnell.net. Retrieved on 30 November 2012.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Faculty of Education and Social Work – Professor Raewyn Connell". University of Sydney. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  15. ^ Connell, R. W.; Messerschmidt, James W. (December 2005). "Hegemonic Masculinity". Gender & Society. 19 (6): 829–859. doi:10.1177/0891243205278639. ISSN 0891-2432. S2CID 5804166.
  16. ^ "Research Project- Market Society on a World Scale" raewynconnell.net. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  17. ^ "Roses from the South- Re-Thinking Gender Analysis from a World Perspective" Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  18. ^ R. W. Connell and T. H. Irving, Class structure in Australian history, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1980.

External links[edit]

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