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Dr. Melanie Heath

Sociologist Studies Gender Relations in Conservatively Religious Families

Melanie Heath’s recently published article in Gender & Society examines how gender is structured relationally in Mormon fundamentalist plural marriages, being linked to noncoercive power relations.

Jul 24, 2019

Drawing on in-depth interviews with individuals in current and former plural Mormon fundamentalist families, Melanie Heath’s recent Gender & Society article analyzes how perform a “conciliatory masculinity” based on their position as head of the family that requires constant consensus-building skills and emotional labor to maintain family harmony. This masculinity is shaped in relation to women’s performance of “homosocial femininity” that curbs men’s power by building strong bonds among wives to deflect jealousies and negotiate household duties. This research provides evidence for the need to study gender relationally and contextually to better understand women’s agency in conservative, patriarchal religions.

View the article here.