SummaryThis dissertation relates to a field that in the last decades have gained increased attention in Western Europe; constructions of masculinity. My aim is to illuminate constructions of masculinity among young leftist in Istanbul and how their masculinity was related to contradictory cultural discourses of sex, love and marriage.The fieldwork that constitutes the empirical material was done during a period of two years while I was living in Istanbul. In addition to this I accomplished 10 qualitative in-depth interviews that were carried out as life-history narratives. My informants were a group of radical, intellectual young men related to the feminist movement and in their late 20ties. Their socio-economical background was middle class and during my fieldwork they were living in Istanbul, but they originally came from villages or small cities outside Istanbul. Another characteristic I search for was that they had accomplished a higher university education and that they were voluntarily engaged in human rights struggles.The guiding question this dissertation aims to answer is whether leftists’ ambiguous masculinity constructions among leftists can be traced back to paradoxes and contradictions embedded in their male identity. The feminist movement in Turkey started in the mid or late 1980ies and grew out of a well established socialist movement, where men were key actors. For my informants feminism represented an ambiguous sphere in their struggle for sexual emancipation. My informants joined the feminists’ denial of their former asexuality but this implicated another paradox and shaped their contradictory masculine configurations. I use gender theories with special emphasis on Bob Connell’s notion of hegemonic masculinity as an analytical framework to analyse how this group of radical, intellectual young men ‘do masculinity’. Doing this I aim to focus on how new expressions of masculinity contested existing ideas of fixed gender identity. Constructions of masculinity are analysed as an ambiguous dimension of both continuation and change. By focusing on leftists’ everyday life my empirical analysis aim to examine how ideas of sex, love and marriage were shaping masculinity and how contradictory masculinity practices constitute and contest existing perceptions of fixed gender identity. Among leftist sexuality had become a terrain of fundamental political struggle, but this seemed to be contradictory embedded in leftists male identity. I argue that sexuality within the context of my material has become an arena with room to perform both ‘traditional’ - and ‘new’ masculinity configurations.