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Title: Reclaiming masculinity: A sociological study of running repairs.
Authors: Smith, Stuart Lawrence.
Award date: 1994
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Using published work and popular culture, but primarily through a series of forty eight in-depth interviews with participants, this study seeks to chart the contours of mass, non-elite road running in Britain. It considers those involved both in terms of age, sex, ethnic and social class characteristics as well as the distinctions participants make of one another in terms of ability, commitment and motivation. These latter differences give rise to discernable groups within the practice that I, and the participants refer to as 'athletes', 'runners' and 'joggers'. It focuses on the 'runners' as the group who comprise the. Bulk of the field in most events, yet have no readily apparent reason for their involvement since they race and train at levels far above those necessary for basic physical fitness, yet are never going to win any race. The virtually unique (amongst physically demanding sports) composition of the field, in that middle class men over thirty predominate, is then linked to the motivations of those involved. Using recent work on 'bodies' and highlighting the importance of gender to identity the study maps more recent social changes (as parts of longer term trends) that may have undermined some of the traditional grounds (some more recent 'traditions' than others) upon which masculine identities have been established. It considers the way these changes may have worked to the relative disadvantage of middle class men the 'wrong' side of thirty more than many. The thesis advanced is that at the heart of the 'urge to do it on a Sunday morning' for many, is an attempt to 'reclaim' masculinity through a particularly public demonstration of physical prowess, through and from which runners feel they derive the 'respect' and 'admiration' of others. Respect, that is, for attributes traditionally associated with the male of the species.
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Sociology
Leicester Theses

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