Stockman, Oliver James
Work, play and performance: masculinity and popular culture in central Scotland, c.1930-c.1950.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis seeks to begin to fill the gaps in the historiography surrounding the constructions of masculinity performed by young Scottish men in the mid-twentieth century. Much of the current research on British masculinity focuses on the English experience. Where historians have studied Scottish masculinity it has often been in the context of ‘deviant’ forms such as gang membership and domestic violence. In contrast to this, this thesis investigates the masculinities lived by the mass of young working-class men in Scotland. Throughout the thesis masculinity is conceptualized as performative and situational social construct that can be considered both as an identity and as a behaviour.
The investigation of masculinity is conducted through examination of oral histories, newspapers and the documents of both employers and voluntary organizations. The use of this range of sources facilitates an assessment of the dominant discourses concerning masculinity, as well as the experiences of the men who constructed their gender, and social identities in the environment these discourses shaped. It is argued that economic context was a fundamental factor in determining the types of masculinity that were acceptable at work and within the greater community. Working-class youths were also able to renegotiate and reshape the discourses of masculinity presented by both commercial and ‘reforming’ sources in order to perform masculine identities that were congruent to their own community norms. This allowed them to practice an agency in their social identities constrained by socioeconomic environment that, while not radical, constituted an active construction of masculinity.
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