MEXICAN MORMON MASCULINITIES: navigating religious and gender normativities and identities in Mexico City

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Isaac Ali Siles Barcenas


This thesis explores the production and experience of masculinities among Mormon men (and women) in the contemporary context of Mexico City. It draws on a qualitative methodology, based on the analysis of texts and documents that make up the institutional normativity and discourse of Mormonism; ethnographic observations of two traditional Mormon congregations and the collective of self-identified LGBT Mormons 'Afirmacion'; and individual in-depth interviews with 25 Mormon men and 5 Mormon women. Drawing on the debates on secularisation and detraditionalisation, the thesis argues that contemporary Mormon masculinities in Mexico are neither merely current manifestations of 'traditional' forms of religious masculinity, nor the product of the ever-increasing 'modernisation' and secularisation of Mexican society. Rather, they consist of nuanced and fluid processes that simultaneously display elements of long-standing religious and gendered belief and practice, as well as ways of being in the world and interacting in it influenced by what can be seen as modern and post-modern discourses. Such processes are traced in four dimensions throughout the thesis, namely, the display of masculinities in different spaces configured either by Mormonism's gender regime or other such regime(s), the particular positions assigned to masculinities in those regimes through the notion of priesthood authority, the gender relationships that such structure produces, fosters and/or hinders, and the biographical accounts that participants articulated of their becoming 'Mormon men'. Throughout this exploration, the thesis addresses the issue of how useful or illuminating the concept of hegemonic masculinity can be in understanding religious masculinities in general and Mormon masculinities more specifically. It also seeks to illustrate the interaction between long-standing forms of being and doing religious masculinities, and others sometimes characterised as 'post-traditional' or even 'post-modern'.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2019