The Corporeality of Working-Class Men in Labor Regimes and the Private Sphere. Extended Summary

Abstract. The article considers masculine corporeality as enacted in the working spaces of a construction site and a factory and as it is displayed in the private lives of workers through their sexuality and practices of care for the self. I compare the narratives of corporeality of male blue-collar workers from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which I collected in 2010–2011. How do workers narrate their bodies? How is masculine corporeality related to the differing labor regimes of a Moscow construction site and a Saint Petersburg factory? What sexual strategies do male workers use? And how is masculine subjectivity constituted through practices of care for the self? This article aims to answer these questions. In Russian, extended summary in English.

Keywords: Masculine Body; Blue-Collar Workers; Masculine Sexuality; Masculine Subjectivity; Somatic Culture; Russia

The crisis of masculinity in the contemporary world challenges many traditional tenets of gender theory. In modern Russia, physical labor has always been considered a masculine sphere, and male blue-collar workers are thought to epitomize normative masculinity. However, in the 1990s, when the status of Russian workers was downgraded and their economic standing worsened, the value attributed to masculinity was challenged. Scholars describe a “crisis of masculinity” arising in the post-Soviet transition. Its distinguishing characteristics are the impossibility of conforming to the paradigms of traditional masculinity, defiant physical behavior incompatible with self-preservation instincts, destructive bodily practices, harmful habits, and accidents, leading to the high susceptibility of men to various health disorders. Read more…

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