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Young Working-class Men Without Jobs : Reimagining Work and Masculinity in Postindustrial Sweden

Chapter in book
Authors Åsa Andersson
Anita Beckman
Published in Masculinity, Labour and Neoliberalism. Working-Class Men in International Perspective / edited by Charlie Walker, Steven Roberts.
Pages 101-123
ISBN 978-3-319-63171-4
Publisher Springer International Publishing - Palgrave Macmillan
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Pages 101-123
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63172-...
Keywords masculinity, working-class, young men, neoliberalism, unemployment, social identity
Subject categories Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnology

Abstract

This chapter discusses the narratives of young working-class men, living in a small town in Sweden that is located outside the regions with economic growth. As in many other European countries, the rate of unemployment among Swedish youth is disproportionally high. Since working-class masculinity has traditionally been closely connected to wage labor and to the ability to provide for oneself, as well as being the breadwinner of the family, the lack of resources associated with unemployment implies a need to redefine one’s own self-understanding. Masculinity and its relational implications must be re-evaluated and, hence, reimagined. The young men’s narratives presented in here reflect social and cultural changes that have taken place on a structural level related to the labor market, the educational system and the changed conditions for the formation of social identities in a postindustrial society. First this chapter describes the character and prevalence of youth unemployment in a Swedish context. It then discusses the implications for a marginalized masculinity, based on an empirical interview-study with young unemployed men.

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