Boys will be boys...won't they? Change and continuities in contemporary young working-class masculinities

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Abstract

This article contributes to the literature concerning the construction of working-class masculine identity in a context of unprecedented social transformation. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 24 young men currently employed in the retail sector, this study finds that contrary to much research on masculinities young working-class men are able to resist dominant and hegemonic cultural ideals. The respondents demonstrate a very different attitude towards the emotional labour required in the service sector than is often documented, while also rejecting notions of traditional gendered domestic responsibilities in respect of their futures as potential partners and parents. Congruent with other emerging research in this area, the reference point for an acceptable masculine identity appears to have shifted, with some young working-class men s lives, at least, illustrating an attenuated or softened version of masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671 - 686
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sociology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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