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Men reading fiction: A study of the relationship between reader, (con)text, consumption and gender identity.

Luther, Amy Victoria 2010. Men reading fiction: A study of the relationship between reader, (con)text, consumption and gender identity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis is a qualitative study of men's talk about fiction reading. Based on 38 interviews with male readers and 13 book group sessions with four male participants it draws upon the theories of Bourdieu (1986) and de Certeau (1988) to analyse how men's consumption practices may in part be constitutive of articulations of gendered identity. My analysis of the qualitative data begins with a focus on the interviews, looking at how Bourdieu's conceptual apparatus can be extended to look at the power of the media as a form of 'meta-capital' (Couldry 2003) and gender as a form of symbolic power. The interview analysis identifies a link between gender and genre, with masculinity articulated by negation of culturally feminised texts. Moving towards a more specific analysis of the articulation of the self as gendered, I then consider how the book group participants talk about a series of texts. Firstly focusing on culturally masculinised genres (horror, techno-thriller, science fiction and militaristic action/adventure) the group discussions measured the value of a text by how 'realistic' it was. Subsequently the book group participants were asked to make their own selections to focus on the 'symbolic work' (Willis 2000) of consumption. Each of the books chosen contained elements of comedy pointing to the importance of this genre to performances of masculinity. The readers also revoked their previously established valuation of 'realism' in favour of proximity to the text. Finally, the analysis turns to culturally feminised genres (modern romance, chick lit, feminist fiction, and a 'classic' romantic comedy) where discussions once more emphasised readers' constructions of self in opposition to femininity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
ISBN: 9781303195860
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:52

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