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Masculinities, music, emotion and affect

de Boise, Sam (2012) Masculinities, music, emotion and affect. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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Background: Gendered inequalities have historically been legitimated through the discursive enforcement of ‘natural’ sexual difference. One particular fallacy that has denied females a political voice, is that white, Western, males are more ‘naturally’ equipped for rational thought or strive for emotional suppression. In starting from the premise that this is always the case however, critical approaches to masculinities underestimate how adherence to the discursive ideal of rationality is mediated through emotional experience. Purpose: Using concepts of ‘habitus’ and ‘affect’ this thesis challenges the assumption that the perceived rejection of emotions, is firstly how masculinities are constructed. Secondly, because ‘individual’ emotions are a prerequisite to social action, it foregrounds the importance of a nuanced understanding of male emotional narratives explicitly through music. Culturally, music consumption is overtly concerned with ‘individual’ emotional experience and group interaction. Therefore male domination of music production and consumption, stands at odds with discourses of ‘rationality’, offering a means of understanding socially patterned, male emotional experience Methods: A two-stage, mixed methods approach was undertaken, with males ranging from ages 16-64 participating. The first stage was an online survey and the final sample included 361 males, spanning various demographics. The second stage was a series of six, life-history case studies with participants selected from those who had completed the survey, based on the richness of data they provided and stratified by age. Conclusions: Both survey and life-history accounts demonstrated a wealth of emotional experience. Whilst music was primarily used as a tool for emotional expression, it was also perceived to manage ‘undesirable’ emotions. Respondents’ emotional engagement with music differed over the course of their lives, in line with socially patterned expectations. This has implications for the notion of ‘learning to be affected’ through the construction of masculinities, indicating new ways of theorising about masculinities as social embodiment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2013 10:56
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3400

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