Masculine assertions, whether of verbal command, political power or physical violence, have formed the traditional subject matter of history. This volume combines current discussions in sexual politics with historical analysis to demonstrate that, far from being natural and monolithic, masculinity is an historical and cultural construct, with varied, competing and above all changing forms. The contributors draw on literature, cultural studies and sociology to explore the history and representations of masculinity from 1800 to the 1980s, with examples ranging from Thomas Carlyle and the 19th-century "man of letters" to the post-World War II "company man". Making men visible as gendered subjects within the accepted historical categories of family, business and labour, class and nation, the text describes how - in the past as in the contemporary world - masculinities need to be understood as subjective identity, as social power and as cultural representation.
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