Labour History Review


Taking it Like a Man

Labour History Review (2004), 69, (2), 129–133.


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See, e.g., J. Mangan and J. Walvin (eds), Manliness and Morality. Middle-Class Masculinity in Britain and America 1840-1940, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1987; M. Roper and J. Tosh (eds), Manful Assertions: Manliness in Britain since 1800, London, Routledge, 1991 and J. Tosh, A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1999; also see note 1 in R. Johnston and A. McIvor's article below, and notes 4-5, 11, 32-3 in K. Hunt's for more studies of working- and of middle-class masculinity. Further studies include A. Davies, Leisure, Gender and Poverty: Working-Class Culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900-1939, Open University Press, 1992; P. Ayers, ‘The making of men; masculinities in interwar Liverpool', in M. Walsh (ed.) Working Out Gender: Perspectives from Labour History, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2000; chapters in P. Higate (ed.), Military Masculinities: Identity and the State, Westport, CN, Praeger, 2003. Also see historical work which studies working-class masculinity as part of a gender system, e.g. E. Ross, ‘"Fierce questions and taunts": married life in working-class London 1870-1914', Feminist Studies, 8, 3, 1982 and S. Rose, Limited Livelihoods: Gender and Class in Nineteenth-Century England, London, Routledge, 1992. Google Scholar

See feminist psychologist L. Segal, Changing Masculinities, Changing Men, London, Virago, 1990; also psychiatrist A. Clare, On Men: Masculinity in Crisis, London, Arrow, 2001. The leading sociologist in the field is R. W. Connell, Masculinities, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1995 and The Men and the Boys, Cambridge, Polity, 2000; cultural studies has collected together interdisciplinary work, see e.g., R. Chapman and J. Rutherford (eds), Male Order; Unwrapping Masculinity, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1988; S. Whitehead and F. Barrett (eds), The Masculinities Reader, Cambridge, Polity, 2001; R. Adams and D. Savran (eds), The Masculine Studies Reader, Oxford, Blackwell, 2002. Google Scholar

E.g., Connell, Masculinities, pp. 76-81. Connell gives a helpful definition: ‘masculinities are configurations of practice within gender relations, a structure that includes large-scale institutions and economic relations as well as face-to-face relationships and sexuality. Masculinity is institutionalized in this structure, as well as being an aspect of individual character or personality': Men and the Boys, p. 29. Google Scholar

Concepts of performance closer to labour history include E. P. Thompson's work on the theatricality of eighteenth-century English rule, e.g. Customs in Common, London, Merlin, 1991, pp. 43-9, 71-2. I found ideas of prefigurative drama useful in my work on Chartist agitation especially ‘Christianity in Chartist struggle, 183 8-1842', Past and Present, 91, 1981. Raymond Williams emphasised that cultural moments contain conflicting elements so that hegemony is unstable and needs to be acted out and re-established daily: Marxism and Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 112-4. Google Scholar

S. Rowbotham, ‘Beyond the fragments’ in Rowbotham et al., Beyond the Fragments: Feminism and the Making of Socialism, London, Merlin, 1979. Beyond the Fragments: Feminism and the Making of Socialism Google Scholar

See United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report, New York, United Nations, 1999, p. 224, table 24. Google Scholar

Quoted in L. Segal, Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology, Politics, Cambridge, Polity, 1999, p. xxx which confronts resurgent socio-biological concepts of maleness. Google Scholar

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Author details

Yeo, Eileen

Yeo, Eileen