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Title: The postmodernity of the leisure life-world of 'the lads'
Author: Blackshaw, Tony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 9556
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is based on research using a postmodern cultural studies approach, which was carried out in the South Leeds area of Beeston. It focuses on the social networks and leisure lifestyles of a particular group of working-class men described as 'the lads'. The associated works of Baudrillard, Foucault, Giddens, Maffesoli, and Rojek, but particularly Bauman, provide the intellectual reference point for the theoretical orientation of the thesis, which argues that the demands and opportunities required by postmodern conditions disperse and fragment collectivities, such as community and class, to form expressions of belonging, within which the liberty of the reflexive individual, not the collective, is now the overriding value. The work focuses on the extent to which these 'lads' seek to preserve existing (modern) lifestyles and (modem) conceptions of self-identity and community. Making reference to research carried out in the pubs and clubs in Beeston and Leeds city centre, the work elucidates the extent to which this self-constitution of community is constructed around existing modem discourses. The research shows that 'the lads" leisure is key, as it provides them with the time and space (the pub and the club) for the making and the articulation of a spurious sense of belonging and certainty. The thesis argues also that this imagined community is a site of resistance which allows men to assert their masculinities. Making reference to the research, the cultural studies approach shows that masculine behaviour is a key way of expressing the norms and values of the imagined community, which provides a form of ontological security for resisting the cultural and material practices of recent gender change, where it is no longer enough to be a 'hard' man. The thesis is located in a postmodem research genre that rejects empirical sociology - which places emphasis on the collection and systematic analysis of 'data'- in favour of a mystical and pragmatical cultural studies approach. In the writing of the thesis, the author utilises the rhetorical strategies of popular fiction, which makes for an ethnographic account that is more engaging and effective than 'traditional' ethnographic approaches. The thesis combines this cultural studies approach with a historico-sociological analysis, which takes into account both the elaborate and related social, cultural, political and economic structures of modernity and postmodernity. In this way the thesis offers a more diverse and thoroughgoing analysis, making for a synthetic approach that both advances the key theoretical ideas and underpins the academic rigour of the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available