(In) secure times: Constructing white working-class masculinities in the late 20th century

Gender and Society 11 (1):52-68 (1997)
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Abstract

This article documents a moment in history when poor and working-class white boys and men are struggling in their schools, communities, and workplaces against the “Other” as a means of framing identities. Drawing on two independent qualitative studies, the authors investigate distinct locations where poor and working-class boys and men invent, relate to, and distance from marginalized groups in an effort to create self. First the authors look at an ethnography of “the Freeway boys,” a community of urban white working-class high school boys who must deal with the economic ravagement of their neighborhood and their insecure place in a world different than that of their fathers. Next, the authors draw from a large-scale survey of young adults to hear how a combined sample of urban poor and working-class white men narrate identities that are carved explicitly out of territory bordered by white women and African American men. Across sites, the authors theorize how high schools and workplaces both, in part, create white masculinities and interrupt them, at a time when white working-class boys and men feel under siege.

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