Pyke, Karen D. 1996. “Class-Based Masculinities: The Interdependence of Gender, Class, and Interpersonal Power.”

Pyke, Karen D. 1996. “Class-Based Masculinities: The Interdependence of Gender, Class, and Interpersonal Power.” Gender and Society 10(5): 527-549.

How men’s construction and enaction of masculinity can reproduce masculine stratification; how the construction of femininity reconstruct and affirm interclass male dominance – the enhancement, legitimation and mystification processes based upon ideological hegemonies. “Class-based masculinities provide men with different mechanisms of interpersonal power that, when practiced, (re)constitute and validate dominant and subordinated masculinities (528). Cultural ideologies work to justify and obscure oppressive practices that connect macro-inequalities and micro-power relations (Bourdieu 1977, Chafetz 1990, Connell 1987, Foucault 1980, Henley 1977, Lipman-Blumen 1984, Lukes 1974). Control of desire, truth, knowledge, and commonsense. Hegemony as 1) best interests of dominant group as everyone’s best interests; 2) ideology as everyday and taken-for-granted; 3) creates social cohesion and cooperation through ignoring conflicts and contradictions of outcomes. Gender is situated within interaction and accomplishment, rather than static and casually prior to interaction (Coltrane 1989, West and Fenstermaker 1993, West and Zimmerman 1987) – spatial orientations, and body language for example, or establishing masculinity by giving up power in held feminine fields. Gender is multiplex, composed of masculinities and femininities rather than static singular forms (Connell 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995; Donaldson 1993, Frankenberg 1993, Messerschmidt 1993, Messner 1989, 1992). Upper class men order themselves with egalitarianism and benevolence that often obscures power-based relationships with other men and women – are freed from housework and homelife for ‘work’-based reasons, where lower-class men must openly and defiantly assert this to obtain similar privilege – drinking, sexual affairs, and hanging out with other men offered as a way to defy women and expectations pressed upon them, while these things for high class men were considered ambitious or ways to get ahead, thus lower-class men constructing a compensatory masculinity (Collinson 1992, Connell 1991 1995, Willis 1977). Working class status often uses marriage as a site of reassertion of power, and control. Then again, familial involvement and caretaking was a way to compensate for power and disillusionment experienced by low-class men. “For example, a white heterosexual masculine ethnic pervades capitalist, managerial ideologies that stress rationality, success orientation, impersonality, emotional flatness, and a disregard for family concerns. Because these traits are associated with ‘essential’ masculinity and are antithetical to notion of ‘essential’ femininity, this ethic would appear to exclude women from management positions and undermine the power of those who have successfully acceded to such ranks while (re)constructing ‘essential’ femininity and ascendant masculinity” (545).


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of the Theory of Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chafetz , Janet Saltzman. 1990. Gender Equity. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Collinson, David L. 1992. “’Engineering Humour’: Masculinity, Joking, and Conflict in Shop-Floor Relations.” In Men’s Lives, edited by Michael S. Kimmel and Michael A. Messner. Pp. 232-246. New York: MacMillan.

Coltrane, Scott. 1989. “Household Labor and the Routine Production of Gender.” Social Problems 36:473-490.

Connell, R.W. 1987. Gender and Power. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Connell , R.W. 1991. “Live Fast and Die Young: The Construction of Masculinity among Young Working-Class Men on the Margin of the Labour Market.” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology 27: 141-171.

Connell, R.W. 1993. “The Big Picture: Masculinities in Recent World History.” Theory and Society 22:597-623.

Connell, R.W. 1995. Masculinities. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Donaldson, Mike. 1993. “What is Hegemonic Masculinity?” Theory and Society 22:643-657.

Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interview and Other Writings, 1972-1977, edited by Colin Gordon. New York: Pantheon.

Frankenberg, Ruth. 1993. White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Henley, Nancy M. 1977. Body Politics: Power, Sex, and Nonverbal Communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Lipman-Blumen, Jean. 1984. Gender Roles and Power. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Lukes, Steven. 1974. Power: A Radical View. London: Macmillan.

Messerschmidt, James W. 1993. Masculinities and Crime: Critique and Reconceptualization of Theory. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Messner, Michael. 1989. “Masculinities and Athletic Careers.” Gender and Society 3:71-88.

Messner, Michael. 1992. Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity. Boston: Beacon.

West, Candace and Sarah Fenstermaker. 1993. “Power, Inequality, and the Accomplishment of Gender: An Ethnomethodological View. In Theory on Gender/Feminism on Theory, edited by Paula England. Pp. 151-174. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

West, Candace and Don Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society 1:125-151.

Willis, Paul. 1977. Learning to Labor. New York: Columbia University Press.


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