Political Writing

My first political demonstration was in Melbourne, when I was an undergraduate student and didn’t yet have the vote.  It was raining, and we marched silently from the University down to Parliament House, following a single bass drum.   We were protesting against the Victorian state government’s decision to hang a man, convicted of a brutal murder, who was obviously insane.

That was in the early 1960s.  By the late 1960s industrialized murder was being done on a large scale in Vietnam, the Australian government was complicit, and I had become active in several movements.  I began writing about political issues for magazines published by students, unions and progressive groups.  Over the years since, I’ve tried to expand the terrain, thinking of the politics around culture, gender, education, and privatisation. 

The list below is a cross-section of this work.  Like most political writing, these pieces address particular moments, issues and audiences.  I don’t think intellectuals hold the secret of politics, and I’ve always rejected doctrinal systems, whether religious, marxist or neoliberal.  But I think intellectual work does matter, and I think intellectuals have a responsibility to engage with issues that matter.

Politics is hard, action always involves exploring, and we can’t know the answers in advance.  We can search for common ground between issues.  For me that common ground involves participatory democracy, social equality, shared resources, and peace.  That’s the positive side, the hope.  The negative side of the same issues is oligarchy, patriarchal power, obscene wealth, greed, environmental destruction, and violence.  That’s the reality that progressive politics struggles to change.


The femicides of Juarez.  The Scavenger, 2010, http://www.thescavenger.net/people/the-femicides-of-juarez-48124.html.

Free trade, export-processing factories (maquiladoras), labour migration and the drug trade have transformed Ciudad Juárez, on the northern border of Mexico.  A horrifying pattern of murder of hundreds of young women, often with rape and torture, emerged in this city.  I am a member of an Australian solidarity group, and wrote this as part of our campaign.

Bread and waratahs: a postcard to the next Left. Overland, 2010, no. 198, 17-24.

In the last decade I have written a number of pieces for the Australian progressive literary magazine Overland.  Approaching its 200th issue, the magazine commissioned essays, and I took the occasion to reflect on the past, present and future of the Australian Left.

The new right triumphant: the privatization agenda and public education in Australia. Our Schools/ Ourselves, 2006, vol. 15 no. 3, 143-162.

With the rise of neoliberalism and its sustained attack on common schooling – in Australia an amazing amount of money has been diverted to private schools – the defence of public education became important.  I have written a number of times about the issue, and when the wonderful Canadian magazine OS/OS compiled a world-wide survey of the issue, I contributed the Australian chapter.

Social justice in education. Overland, 1999, no. 157, 18-25.

Social justice in education has mainly been understood in distributive terms, essentially about the statistics of access.  I argue that justice centrally concerns what is taught, i.e. issues about curriculum and the effects of education; and that we can formulate principles of curricular justice.

Politics of changing men. Socialist Review (USA), 1995, vol. 25 no. 1, 135-159; Arena Journal (Australia), 1996, no. 6, 53-72.

A ‘men’s movement’ in the rich Anglophone countries emerged in the wake of the new feminism, but was very divided politically.  Since I had done research on masculinities, I knew the terrain, and wrote a number of pieces about how men could contribute to gender equality.  This is the most detailed.

Socialism:  Moving on. In D. McKnight, ed., Moving Left: The future of socialism in Australia, Sydney, Pluto Press, 1986, 9-45.

By now the New Right was influential and the Labor Party was abandoning its mild reformism of the 1970s.  David McKnight tried to stir a re-thinking of socialist ideas in Australia, and I wrote a lead article that reflected on the movement’s history and the new situation, on good grassroots practice and feasible programmes.

Democratising culture. Meanjin Quarterly, 1983, vol. 42 no. 3, 294-307.

Published in Australia’s leading literary magazine – perhaps not the perfect venue for it – this essay considered culture as an arena for democratic politics, defending popular culture but not commercialization.

Socialism and Labor: an Australian Strategy. Sydney, Labor Praxis Publication, 1978, reprinted 1981.

Published by a group in the Labor Party and union left, this was an ambitious attempt to describe a democratic socialist agenda informed by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s – a kind of synthesis between new left and old left.

On the autonomy of universities. Vestes, 1969, vol. 12, 141-149.

I was involved in setting up the Free University in Sydney, and other attempts to democratise higher education and contest the alignment of universities with state and corporate power.  This essay appeared in the magazine of the academic union – and I am still a member.

Labor in the age of Whitlam. Outlook, 1968 no. 2, 11-13;  no. 3, 5-7.

This was my first attempt to think strategically about politics, at the grand age of 24.  It saw the labour movement as the key to mass politics in Australia, but in need of change.  Gough Whitlam, the new leader of the Australian Labor Party, was a right-wing modernizer who compromised about the Vietnam war and sought an expansion of central state power and public services.



Interview with Almantas Samalavicius about the neoliberal university:
Galios Arogancija ir Neoliberali Universitetu Kontrole. Kulturos Barai, 2017 no. 3, 2-6.

Interview with Will Brehm for FreshEd, July 2016, available as podcast here:
http://www.freshedpodcast.com/raewynconnell/  and here: 
Raewyn Connell, sociologue et militante féministe.  Des rivages du Pacifque : politiques du genre et connaissance. Entretien réalisé et traduit par Hélène Martin. Nouvelles Questions Féministes, 2015, vol. 34 no. 1, 102-121.

Rasmussen, Mary Lou, Christina Gowlett and Raewyn Connell. 2014. Interview with Raewyn Connell: the cultural politics of queer theory in education research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. Published online 5 March 2014.  DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2014.888839.

Liu Yan. Masculinities and the social structure of gender: conversations with Raewyn Connell. Foreign Literatures (China), vol. 35 no. 5, October 2013, 1-8.

Connell, Raewyn, Lisandro E. Claudio and Karl Cheng Chua. 2013. The South on the South: Interview with Raewyn Connell. Social Transformations, vol. 1 no. 2, 1-11.

A moment with Professor Raewyn Connell.  Interview by Nick Osbaldiston.  Nexus: Newsletter of The Austalian Sociological Association, August 2013, 13-16.

Vozes do Sul: entrevista com Raewyn Connell.  Interview by Cynthia Hamlin and Frédéric Vandenberghe. cadernos pagu, no. 40, 2013, 345-358.

Masculinités, colonialité et néolibéralisme.  Entretien avec Raewyn Connell. Interview with Mélanie Gourarier, Gianfranco Rebucini and Florian Voros, Contretemps, 10 September 2013, online at:

Adelman, Miriam and Carmen Rial.  Uma trajetória pessoal e acadêmica: entrevista com Raewyn Connell.  Revista Estudos Feministas, 2013, vol. 21 no. 1, 211-231.

Connell, Raewyn and Sveva Magaraggia. 2011. Ricerca sulle questioni de genere: sangue, sudore e lacrime.  Intervista a Raewyn Connell. Studi Culturali, vol. 8 no. 1, 79-92.

Mona Livholts, “Writing masculinities, gender, and the politics of change: a publicly staged interview with Raewyn Connell”, NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 2010, vol. 18 no. 4, 266-278.

Connell, Raewyn. 2010. Les masculinités et les hommes dans les mouvements féministes.  Pp. 59-76 in Pauline Debenest, Vincent Gay and Gabbriel Girard, ed., Féminisme au pluriel, Paris, Éditions Syllepse. 

An Interview with Raewyn Connell. 2010. Pp. 1-3 in Mindy Stombler et al., Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader, Boston, Allyn and Bacon.

Raewyn Connell on teacher quality and the problem with markets. Interview by John Graham. Professional Voice, 2010, vol. 8 no. 2, 55-63.

Connell, Raewyn. 2009. Peripheral visions - beyond the metropole. Pp. 53-72 in Jane Kenway and Johanna Fahey, ed., Globalizing the Research Imagination, London, Routledge.

An interview with Prof. Raewyn Connell.  2008. Published on website of Men Against Violence and Abuse, India, at: http://mavaindia.org/Interview_Connell.htmlrl/ 

Connell, Raewyn and Ulf Mellström. 2006.  Time for reconsideration: an interview. Norma: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, vol. 1 no. 2, 109-121. 

'Keepin' it real!' - An Interview with R.W.Connell.  Nikki Wedgwood. Nexus, October 2004, 5-6.

Cashing out the patriarchal dividend: interview with Lahoucine Ouzgane and Daniel Coleman. Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies. Volume 2 no. 1, 1998. Special Issue on Postcolonial Masculinities.

The theory and politics of masculinities: an interview.  Men's Studies Review, 1989, vol. 6 no. 3, 3-5 (with Michael Messner).

Press interviews and reports

‘Alle sind gleich – oder auch nicht’, Interview by Eva Stanzl, Wiener Zeitung, 9 November 2011, p. 13.  http://www.wienerzeitung.at/themen_channel/wzwissen/mensch/409721_Alle-sind-gleich-oder-auch-nicht.html
‘Crise não mudará comportamento da elite’, Interview by Eleonora de Lucena, Folha de S. Paulo (Brasil), 26 October 2011, p. A17.

‘Arquetipos sociales, generadores de la violencia en Juárez: Raewyn Connell, representante de Sydney Action for Juarez, realizó en studio del problema interno de la frontera’, by Luis Carlos Ortega, Norte de Ciudad Juarez, 23 October 2011, p. B/3.

‘Raewyn Connell: “Involucrarse profundamente en la crianza de una persona nueva lleva a que las personas quieran con menos probabilidad matar y mutilar a otras”’, Interview by Elena Ledda, 8 October 2011.http://www.laindependent.cat/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1362:raewyn-connell-qinvolucrar-se-profundament-en-la-crianca-duna-nova-persona-fa-que-les-persones-vulguin-amb-menys-probabilitat-matar-i-mutilar-altresq&catid=86:noves-masculinitats&Itemid=123&lang=es

School Inc: Education system 'run like stock market'. Interview by Candice Keller, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 7 June 2010 pp. 1, 6. Teachers: No to bonus pay. The Advertiser, 8 June 2010, Education Now section, p. 31.

Connell Turns South.  Article by Kevin Murray, Arena Magazine, 2010, no. 105, 8-10.

Die Finanzkrise ist ein Werk von Männern.  Interview by Klaus Buttinger. OÖ Nachrichten (Austria), 3 April 2009 p. 22.

Men still in charge, admits academic. Interview by Tory Shepherd, The Advertiser, 19 February 2009, p. 11.

Reports on my address to Perspectives from the Periphery conference (Sweden). Vasterbottens Folkblad, 21 August 2008, and Vasterbottens-Kuriren, 23 August 2008.

Den Mann gibt es nicht.  Interview with Baseler Zeitung (Switzerland). 30 September 2007, p. 71.

Formas ineditas de articular las masculinidades. Interview with Robert Connell. Letra S (Mexico). 2000, 7 December, p. 9.

Es esmu socialists un mana sieva feministe.  Interview with Elizabete Picukane and Iveta Rancane. Rigas Laiks (Latvia). no. 8, 1999, 18-21.

The world of men. Natal Witness (South Africa), 4 July 1997.

Discussions of Raewyn's work

ZHAN Junfeng, Xing Bie Zhi Lu: Rui Wen Kang Nai Er De Nan Xing Qi Zhi Li Lun Tan Suo [The Road of Gender: An Exploration of Raewyn Connell’s Theories of Masculinity].  Guangxi Normal University Press, 2015.

Maree Herrett and Toni Schofield, “Raewyn Connell: Gender, health and healthcare”. Pp. 550-566 in Fran Collyer, The Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine, Basingstoke and New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

John Scott, “Raewyn Connell: Hegemonic masculinities, gender and male health”.  Pp. 535-549 in Fran Collyer, The Palgrave Handbook of Social Theory in Health, Illness and Medicine, Basingstoke and New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.  

Michael Burawoy. 2015. "Travelling Theory", Open Democracy, 21 March 2015, online at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/michael-burawoy/travelling-theory 

Shelley Budgeon. 2014. “The dynamics of gender hegemony: femininities, masculinities and social change”, Sociology, 2014, vol. 48 no. 2, 317-334.
Lois Bryson. 2014. “Connell, Raewyn (1944-)”. In Judith Smart and Shurlee Swain, eds., Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia.  Published online, 2014, at: http://www.womenaustralia.info/leaders/biogs/WLE0734b.htm

Craig Campbell. 2014. "Making the Difference (1982)". Dictionary of Educational History in Australia and New Zealand (DEHANZ). 28 February.  Available online at: http://dehanz.net.au/entries/making-difference-1982/.

Meoïn Hagège et Arthur Vuattoux. 2014. “Introduction”.  Pp. 9-21 in Raewyn Connell, Masculinités: Enjeux sociaux de l’hégémonie. Paris: Éditions Amsterdam.

Éric Fassin, “Postface: Actualité des masculinités”. Pp. 273-280 in Raewyn Connell, Masculinités: Enjeux sociaux de l’hégémonie. Paris: Éditions Amsterdam, 2014.
Marcelo C. Rosa. 2014.  "Theories of the South: Limits and perspectives of an emergent movement in social sciences". Current Sociology, published online 24 February 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0011392114522171.

Marianne Schmidbaur. 2013. “Raewyn Connell (*1944)”. Pp. 92-98 in Marianne Schmidbaur, Helma Lutz & Ulla Wischermann, ed., Klassikerinnen feministischer Theorie: Grundlagentexte Band III (ab 1986). Sulzbach am Taunus: Ulrike Helmer Verlag.

Scholarly controversies: Raewyn Connell's Southern Theory.  In Political Power and Social Theory, 2013, vol. 25: Decentering Social Theory.  This has the following papers: Mustafa Emirbayer, 'A sociological breakthrough, not a sociological guilt trip', 131-136; Patricia Hill Collins, 'Critical interventions in Western social theory: reflections on power and Southern Theory', 137-146; Raka Ray, 'Connell and postcolonial sociology', 147-156; Isaac Ariail Reed, 'Theoretical labors necessary for a global sociology: critique of Raewyn Connell's Southern Theory', 157-171; Raewyn Connell, 'Under Southern skies', 173-182

Gregor McLennan. 2013. "Postcolonial critique: the necessity of sociology". Political Power and Social Theory, vol. 24: Postcolonial Sociology, 119-144.
Mónica De Martino Bermúdez. 2013. “Connell y el concepto de masculinidades hegemónicas: notas críticas desde la obra de Pierre Bourdieu.” Revista Estudos Feministas, vol. 21 no. 1, 283-300.

Milica Antic Gaber. Onkraj binarnosti in dihotomij. Pp. 342-370 in Raewyn Connell, Moskosti, Ljubljana, Zalozba Krtina, 2012. (In Slovenian.)

Christine Beasley. Problematizing contemporary Men/Masculinities theorizing: the contribution of Raewyn Connell and conceptual-terminological tensions today. British Journal of Sociology, 2012, vol. 63 no. 4, 747-765.

Connell Turns South.  Article by Kevin Murray, Arena Magazine, 2010, no. 105, 8-10.

Futoshi Taga, "Masculinities as gender: RW Connell, Gender and Power, Masculinities", in Shun Inoue and Kimio Ito, ed., Modern Family and Gender, Kyoto, Sekaishisosha, 2010. (In Japanese.)

Re-thinking “Gender and Power”.  Presidential session at Annual Conference of Social Science History Association, Chicago, 19 November 2010.  Organized by the SSHA President, Ann Orloff, this examined Gender and Power and Raewyn’s subsequent work.  Speakers were Kathleen Canning (University of Michigan), Claire Decoteau (University of Illinois at Chicago), Myra Marx Ferree (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Raka Ray (University of California, Berkeley).

Gender and Power in Global Perspective: The Work of Raewyn Connell, forum at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association, 10 August 2009.  Speakers were Joan Acker (University of Oregon), Patricia Yancey Martin (North Carolina State University) and Raka Ray (University of California, Berkeley).

Nikki Wedgwood, “Connell’s theory of masculinity - its origins and influences on the study of gender”, Journal of Gender Studies, 2009, vol 18 no. 4, 329-339.

Fang Gang, “Connell’s masculinity theory”, pp. 454-459 in Liu Shaojie, ed., Current Foreign Sociological Theories, China Renmin University Press House, 2009. [In Chinese.]
Marília Carvalho, "Raewyn Connell: A construção de novas identidades de gênero", Pedagogia Contemporânea, (Brazil) September 2009, 76-90. (In Portuguese.)

Southern Theory: review symposium in British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2008, vol. 29 no. 6, 719-725.

Edgar Forster, "Männlichkeitskritik und Feminismus" [masculinity critique and feminism]. Feministische Studien, 2008, vol. 26 no. 2, 220-229, issue "Neuer Feminismus?"

Fang Gang, “Review on Connell and her gender theory”, Collection of Women’s Studies, 2008, vol. 2, 10-14, 53. [In Chinese.] 

Mimi Schippers. 2007. “Recovering the feminine other: masculinity, femininity, and gender hegemony”. Theory and Society, vol. 36, 85-102.

Fidelma Ashe, "Raewyn Connell: Masculinities, Power and Alliance Politics", pp. 143-156 in The New Politics of Masculinity, London, Routledge, 2007.

Robert Connell: paradigmas de las masculinidades, seminar at Universidad de la Habana, Cuba, 24 October 2007.

Nikki Wedgwood, "Robert W. Connells Theorie der Männlichkeit und ihre Entstehungsgeschichte", pp. 216-239 in Beate Kortendiek and A. Senganata Münst, ed., Lebenswerke: Porträts der Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung, Opladen, Budrich, 2005.

Demetrakis Zannettos Demetriou, Adventures of a Diasporic Intellectual: R. W. Connell, from social class to the synthetic turn in gender analysis, PhD thesis, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, 2005.

Ruling Class, Ruling Culture conference. Melbourne,19-21 July 2002.  Organized by the journal Overland and colleagues at the University of Melbourne, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ruling Class, Ruling Culture and bring together current research. A book based on the conference was published subsequently: N. Hollier, ed., Ruling Australia, Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2004.  Among the chapters, see Demetris Z. Demetriou, "Towards a genealogy of R.W.Connell's notion of 'structure', 1971-1977", pp. 24-44.

Steve Hall, “Daubing the drudges of fury: men, violence and the piety of the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ thesis”; Tony Jefferson, “Subordinating hegemonic masculinity”; with reply by Raewyn. Theoretical Criminology, 2002, vol. 6 no. 1, 35-99.

Lyn Yates, "Effectiveness, difference and sociological research"; Martin Thrupp, "Making the Difference: 20 years on"; Madeleine Arnot, "Making the Difference to Sociology of Education: reflections on family-school and gender relations". Symposium on Making the Difference, twenty years after first publication, in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 2002, vol. 23 no. 3, 319-355.

Demetrakis Z. Demetriou, "Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity: a critique", Theory and Society, 2001, vol. 30, 337-361.

Invitational conference on masculinity research, Mexico City, 25-27 September 2000.  The Gender Studies Program at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) ran a three-day conference in which gender researchers discussed Raewyn’s approach to conceptualizing masculinity, methodology in masculinity research, and theorizing gender.

M. Wetherell and N. Edley, "Negotiating hegemonic masculinity: imaginary positions  and psycho-discursive practices", Feminism and Psychology, 1999, vol. 9 no. 3, 335-356.

Gender Research and Gender Democracy conference, Bochum, 2 June 1999. Organized by the Marie-Jahoda program, Ruhr-University Bochum: an invitational conference around Raewyn’s work, with participants from across Germany.

Randall Collins, "A sociological guilt trip: comment on Connell", American Journal of Sociology, 1997, vol. 102 no. 6, 1558-64.

Masculinities: featured reviews in Contemporary Sociology, 1996, vol. 25 no. 2, 166-174.

Masculinities: review symposium in Journal of Gender Studies, 1996, vol. 5 no. 2, 249-252.

Zarina Maharaj, "A social theory of gender: Connell's Gender and Power", Feminist Review, 1995, no. 49, 50-65. 

Gender and Power: review essay in Sociological Forum, 1990, vol. 5 no. 2, 301-310. 

Making the Difference: review essay and reply in Curriculum Perspectives, 1985, vol. 5 no. 2, 15-31. 

Which Way is Up? review essay in Thesis Eleven, 1984/85, no. 10/11, 255-260. 

Class Structure in Australian History: review symposium in Historical Studies, 1981, vol. 19, no. 76, 440-453.
Back to Top