Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

'He loves the little ones and doesn't beat them': Working class masculinity in Mexico City, 1917–1929
by Gustafson, Reid Erec, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2014, 307; 3629289
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines how Mexico City workers, workers’ families, state officials, unions, employers, and others perceived, performed, and shaped masculinity during the period of the Mexican Revolution. I argue that Mexico City’s workers, officials, and employers negotiated working-class gender beliefs in such a way as to express multiple, performed, and distinctly working-class masculinities and sexualities. Scholars who study gender in Mexico argue that during the 1930s a particular type of working-class masculinity became dominant: the idea of the male worker as a muscular breadwinner who controlled both machines and women. I agree with this claim, but the existing scholarship fails to explain how this “proletarian masculinity” developed prior to the 1930s. My dissertation studies the period right before this proletarian masculinity became dominant and explains the processes through which it gradually developed. During the 1920s, the state held a relatively unstable position of power and was consequently forced to negotiate terms of rule with popular classes. I demonstrate that the 1920s represent a period when no one form of masculinity predominated. A complex range of multiple masculine behaviors and beliefs developed through the everyday activities of the working class, employers, officials, and unions. A Catholic union might represent a rival union as possessing an irresponsible form of manhood, a young man might use bravado and voice pitch to enact a homosexual identity, and a single father might enact a nurturing, self-sacrificing form of manhood. My sources include labor arbitration board records, court records, newspapers, plays, poetry, and reports by social workers, police, doctors, labor inspectors, juvenile court judges, and Diversions Department inspectors. Each chapter in this dissertation analyzes a particular facet of workers’ masculinity, including worker’s masculine behaviors among youth, within the family, in the workplace, in popular entertainment venues, and within unions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vaughan, Mary Kay
Commitee: Greene, Julie, Patricio Korzeniewicz, Roberto, Rosemblatt, Karin, Sartorius, David
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Latin American history, Labor relations, Gender studies
Keywords: Gender, Labor, Masculinity, Mexico, Revolution, Working class
Publication Number: 3629289
ISBN: 978-1-321-06051-5
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