Masculinity in the Modern West: Gender, Civilization and the Body

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Palgrave Macmillan, Nov 15, 2008 - History - 285 pages
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Across the Western world "crisis" is the word most commonly used to describe the state of masculinity today, but how new is this idea? Can we identify a time when masculinity was actually stable and secure? Masculinity in the Modern West engages with these questions by examining how traditional ideals about male physical prowess have clashed with the lifestyle changes that accompanied the rise of modern civilization since 1700. In countries like America, Britain, France, Germany and Russia, modernity bolstered male dominance in commerce, politics, technology and the world of ideas; yet images of masculinity have continued to be haunted by the negative effects that polite, cerebral, consumerist and sedentary lifestyles might have on the minds and bodies of men. Modernity thus exercises a double logic that supports male privilege while diminishing the physical difference used to legitimate that privilege. By focusing on the male body, this wide-ranging study proposes that "crises" of masculinity may be structural, and thus inescapable, features of life in our world.

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About the author (2008)

CHRISTOPHER E. FORTH is the Howard Professor of Humanities & Western Civilization at the University of Kansas. His books include Zarathustra in Paris: The Nietzsche Vogue in France, 1891-1918, The Dreyfus Affair and the Crisis of French Manhood, and (co-edited with Bertrand Taithe) French Masculinities: History, Politics and Culture.

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