Tristan’s research is broadly concerned with an important dynamic in the sociology of gender—while gender is subject to incredible variation and transformation, gender inequality has been shown to be much more durable. Tristan’s research examines this dynamic by examining shifts in the meanings and practices associated with masculinity. He examines the relationship between gender, sexuality and power with a focus on “hybrid” configurations of masculinity that operate in ways that challenge and reproduce systems of inequality.
Tristan’s work on “hybrid masculinities” is concerned with the revival and retheorization of a theoretical discussion that began among scholars studying shifts in masculinity at the end of the 20th century. Alongside a backlash against feminist change, countless examples began to emerge suggesting that masculinity was opening up. Men seemed to start publicly embracing performances that scholarship had long positioned men as avoiding for fear of being emasculated—they became more involved parents, began to publicly demonstrate emotional vulnerability, and public declarations of misogyny and sexism were less tolerated. Ever since, a central question scholars interested in masculinity, gender, and inequality have sought to understand how we can interpret the meanings and consequences of these changes.
Building on interdisciplinary research and theory concerning the gender projects of young, straight, white men, “hybrid masculinities” is a theoretical framework that provides new tools for making sense of contemporary gender and sexual inequality and unites findings from scholarship across the field–concerning questions of identity, inequality, and how we can interpret the meanings and consequences associated with shifts in masculinity (Bridges 2014). Along with C.J. Pascoe, Tristan retheorized “hybrid masculinities” in reference to a broad range of practices that share a patterned set of consequences associated with gender and sexual power and inequality. Connecting scholarship across the field and beyond the boundaries of the field as they are sometimes defined, Tristan and C.J.’s summary of this framework is relied upon as a theoretical framework in the field (Bridges and Pascoe 2014). They are currently at work on an edited volume with Sarah Diefendorf that maps the extent of this theoretical project in addition to other projects.
Tristan’s research has been published in Gender & Society, Body & Society, Sociology Compass, Contexts, and other venues. He also collaborates with a number of scholars in his field. Presently, he is at work on his book prospectus for a research project that attempts to reconsider how we theorize about men’s relationship with gender identity and inequality in the 21st century, tentatively entitled: Othering Other Men: Hybrid Masculinity and Transformations in Gender and Inequality among Men.
In addition to this work, Tristan has several ongoing projects. He is collecting interviews for a book-length project on man caves in contemporary American couple households. He is also collaborating with Tara Leigh Tober on a research project on mass shootings in America, producing a new dataset (described in more detail here). And finally, he is collaborating on a project with Kristen Barber examining shifts in depictions of masculinity in contemporary men’s advertising.
See a selected list of Tristan’s publications here.