Masculinities at risk? : Life experiences of employment and unemployment among working-class men in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Masculinities at risk? : Life experiences of employment and unemployment among working-class men in Hong Kong

 

Author: Tam, Kin Yuen
Title: Masculinities at risk? : Life experiences of employment and unemployment among working-class men in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Men -- Employment -- China -- Hong Kong.
Men's studies -- China -- Hong Kong.
Working class -- China -- Hong Kong.
Masculinity.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xiii, 321 leaves ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2653052
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7257
Abstract: Although men as a group enjoy the structural benefits in our society, not all men are enjoying the structural benefits especially for a group of working-class men who are situated in a marginalized position. Even though working-class men find it difficult to maintain a stable job, work is still reported important in their life. To find out how men's work is important in influencing other aspects of life, this study has a dual focus. Firstly, it explores the ways employment and unemployment are affecting men's masculine identities. Secondly, it highlights the ways men construct their masculinity in relation to work. In exploring these issues, the study draws on insights from the literatures on masculinities especially on the typologies of masculinity, gender relations, men's breadwinner roles, fatherhood, men's gender habitus and capital theory. This study contributes to the knowledge in the fields of the interrelationship among Chinese working-class men's work, family life and social life. The knowledge is derived from the analysis of the qualitative data obtained from the stories of nine informants living in Hong Kong. The findings of the study suggest that working-class men place specific importance to work in constructing their masculinity. When they experience unemployment, they try various ways to enhance their employability. They are holding a traditional belief in masculinity and that work means everything in their life, and they see that unemployment emasculates their masculinity. Men's work has also affected their beliefs and behaviours in family and social life. These men demonstrate that they are holding a traditional outlook of masculinity, and they tend to emphasize their breadwinner status in household and they are instrumental in social relationship. Although the findings suggest that these working-class men are holding a traditional masculinity, they are constructing an alternative masculinity which is shaped by their experiences and responses to the challenges they are encountering and the specific Chinese context they are situating. Findings in this study also shed light on the implications of social policy and social services for men.

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