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Young working class men without work: re-imagining masculinity in post-industrial societies
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Social Pedagogy and Sociology. (BUV)
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology and Organisation Studies. (BUV)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5715-1043
2015 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses narratives from young working class men, living in a small Swedish town located outside the emerging economic regions. Like in many other European countries the rate of unemployment among youth is disproportionally high in Sweden. From a broad material of in-depth interviews with unemployed young people the issue of masculinity in relation to work is an emerging, though not always specified or articulated, theme. Industrial societies has turned post-industrial. The labor market has undergone major structural changes during the last four decades and since working class masculinity traditionally has been closely connected to wage labor and to the ability to provide for oneself as well as for others - being the main breadwinner of the family - masculinity is forced to be re-imagined. In the ongoing construction of identity and young masculinity, nostalgic images of a recently lost way of life where employment meant hard labor but also a durable and respected position in the community, are retold. Parallel to these narratives and sometimes in opposition to them, there are also wishes and dreams of alternative ways of relating one's own role, identity and masculinity to a different set of work ethics where neither wage labor nor traditional masculinity need to form it´s stable categories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Unemployment, men, Sweden, masculinity
National Category
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology; Child and Youth studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8951OAI: diva2:898979
SIEF International Congress in Zagreb 2015: Utopias, Realities, Heritages: Ethnographies for the 21st century
Available from: 2016-01-30 Created: 2016-01-30 Last updated: 2016-02-09Bibliographically approved

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