The links between crime, violence and male offending are now more deeply researched in a growing international literature that understands much antisocial and criminal behaviour as a social resource for the attainment and protection of masculine identities. Nevertheless, the tie between masculinity and nonoffending has been much less explored.This focus group study of understandings of public drinking-related conflict and violence among young male drinkers and security officers in a combined urban and rural district of New South Wales illustrates the significance and complexity of these links. Masculine concerns inform a readiness for involvement with conflict and its enjoyment through the prominence of issues of social status, gender policing, honour and carnival during different social occasions. But this must be understood in relation to the different masculinity 'projects' (Connell, 1995) that contrast security officers with an idealised professional self-image and the majority of drinkers, from a more violent minority. A surprisingly common pattern of 'respectable' masculine subjectivity informs disengagement from serious violence. This is often characterised by an exaggerated view of the rational male self as safe and in control of most social interaction in dangerous public contexts.The pitfalls of this may even be enhanced by the new influence of campaigns around 'risky' public drinking that aim to instill ideals of responsible self-governance.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology Vol. 38, Issue 3, p. 283-297