Well-earned respectability or legitimation of masculinities? Powerful and publicly celebrated men in pre- and post-collapse Iceland

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Abstract

Masculinities are continuously renegotiated, reflecting tensions between various forms of male power. This paper focuses on how events leading up to the international financial crises after 2008 crystallized relationships among different kinds of masculinities, with Iceland as a critical example. To examine the relationships between political and financial elites, we make use of a materialist-discursive approach and Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital. Data on celebrated men in Icelandic society, primarily based on the Man-of-the-Year Award in Icelandic print media from the 1970s and onward, is analyzed. We discuss the transformation of power and how the media contributes to legitimizing the symbolic capital of certain masculinities. We suggest that the political elite had the upper hand from the 1990s onward but lost their hold prior to the collapse, to the benefit of the business elite. Political masculinity had a short comeback after the collapse. We suggest that the era of strong and decisive political and business masculinities has come to an end in Iceland. Further shifts in masculine power in global capitalism should be researched.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume61
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Other keywords

  • Economic collapse
  • Man-of-the-Year
  • Materialist-discursive approach
  • Political and business masculinities
  • Symbolic capital

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