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Title: Men reading fiction : a study of the relationship between reader, (con)text, consumption and gender identity
Author: Luther, Amy Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 3230
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available