Degrees of masculinity: Working and middle class undergraduate students’ constructions of masculine identities

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Waller, R. (2014)

This chapter reflects on the current perceived ‘crisis of masculinity’ and what might be seen as its opposing stance, that society now facilitates more inclusive forms of masculinity. We explore this debate using research with young undergraduate men from working-class and middle-class backgrounds, and argue that the crisis of masculinity is somewhat overstated. Middle-class men in particular can present a veneer of inclusivity attuned to being a modern liberal man but this masks a refashioning not the reforming of traditional male power relations. Meanwhile our study’s working-class men demonstrate elements of tension with constructions of masculinity seemingly resolved in the emergence of more positive identifications. We therefore conclude that masculinity is neither in crisis nor radically reformed.
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