ANDERS WALLACE, then a graduate student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2015 to aid research on 'Swinging in the Iron Cage: Pickup Artists, Seduction Communities, and Passing for Heterosexual Men,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim. This project used ethnographic research over twelve months in New York City-based seduction communities: communities of men who train each other in heterosexual flirting and seduction skills. What gender does standardized training in seduction skills produce? Research encompassed iterative observations, interactions, and interviews with men at multiple sites-including conferences, trade shows, subscription-based clubs, weekend-long training bootcamps-as well as digital ethnography using online seduction forums, digitally recorded seminars, e-books, and podcasts. In addition, oral life histories with select informants delved into family and personal sex history, formative experiences in their gendered self-understanding, as well as subjective themes dealing with their motivation, experience, dissonance, standpoint, and sense-making practices in these communities. Research uncovered the ways that seduction skills teach men to embody male privilege. It also discovered ways these skills straddle contradictory cultural norms of self-help -- between self-empowerment and social belonging -- that are centrally concerned with articulating heterosexual men's relations with each other, rather than with women. Men in these communities are critical of traditional forms of masculinity and more accepting of non-normative gender and sex identities. However, they are also using learning seduction in ways that assert labile forms of male power through contextual enactments of style.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
New York, Graduate Center, City U. of
Wallace, Anders Axel, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Swinging in the Iron Cage: Pickup Artists, Seduction Communities, and Passing for Heterosexual Men,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim