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Masculinities on ClydesideMen in Reserved Occupations During the Second World War$
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Alison Chand

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409360

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409360.001.0001

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Conflicting Masculinities? Men in Reserved Occupations in Wartime Glasgow and Clydeside and their Masculine Subjectivities

Conflicting Masculinities? Men in Reserved Occupations in Wartime Glasgow and Clydeside and their Masculine Subjectivities

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter Two Conflicting Masculinities? Men in Reserved Occupations in Wartime Glasgow and Clydeside and their Masculine Subjectivities
Source:
Masculinities on Clydeside
Author(s):

Alison Chand

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409360.003.0002

This chapter specifically considers the impact of being in reserved occupations during the Second World War on masculine subjectivity, exploring questions such as whether men felt emasculated as a consequence of their civilian employment, whether they associated masculinity with proximity to the war effort and whether alternative masculinities, not linked to the war effort, were relevant to men in civilian employment. The chapter also considers the relationship between the temporary changes in men’s lives in wartime with the continuity of their careers, as well as links between age, skills and manliness. The chapter concludes that oral testimonies reveal a spectrum of ways in which masculinity was asserted by male civilian workers in wartime Clydeside. The chapter argues, however, that continuity and the contingencies of everyday life were more dominant features of the masculine subjectivities of male civilian workers on the Clyde than the temporary, albeit significant and influential, discourses of wartime. The notion that war did not represent a watershed for men working in reserved occupations emerges most clearly from their oral testimonies. While such men were demonstrably affected by multiple discourses, found in cultural and official sources and evident in the attitudes of other civilian men and women, these discourses shaped ‘imagined’, although not fabricated, subjectivities. The ‘lived’ subjectivities of male civilian workers on the wartime Clyde, while existing in a fluid alliance with such ‘imagined’ subjectivities, were arguably rooted in everyday life and the people surrounding them on a day-to-day basis.

Keywords:   ‘Masculinity’, ‘Emasculation’, ‘Work’, ‘Breadwinner’, ‘Continuity’, ‘Change’, ‘Age’, ‘Skill’, ‘Manliness’

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