Affirmative Reaction: New Formations of White Masculinity

Affirmative Reaction: New Formations of White Masculinity

by Hamilton Carroll
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Affirmative Reaction explores the cultural politics of heteronormative white masculine privilege in the United States. Through close readings of texts ranging from the popular television drama 24 to the Marvel Comics miniseries The Call of Duty, and from the reality show American Chopper to the movie Million Dollar Baby, Hamilton

Overview

Affirmative Reaction explores the cultural politics of heteronormative white masculine privilege in the United States. Through close readings of texts ranging from the popular television drama 24 to the Marvel Comics miniseries The Call of Duty, and from the reality show American Chopper to the movie Million Dollar Baby, Hamilton Carroll argues that the true privilege of white masculinity—and its defining strategy—is not to be unmarked, universal, or invisible, but to be mobile and mutable. He describes how, in response to the perceived erosions of privilege produced by post–civil rights era identity politics, white masculinity has come to rely on the very discourses of difference that unsettled its claims on the universal; it has redefined itself as a marginalized identity.

Throughout Affirmative Reaction, Carroll examines the kinds of difference white masculinity claims for itself as it attempts to hold onto or maintain majority privilege. Whether these are traditional sites of minority difference—such as Irishness, white trash, or domestic melodrama—or reworked sites of masculinist investment—including laboring bodies, public-sphere politics, and vigilantism—the outcome is the same: the foregrounding of white masculinity over and against women, people of color, and the non-heteronormative. By revealing the strategies through which white masculinity is produced as a formal difference, Carroll sheds new light on the ways that privilege is accrued and maintained.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Affirmative Reaction is a remarkable transvaluation of the terms by which we currently understand post-Fordist white masculinist hegemony. Not an unmarked norm but a particularized, and particularly abject, new identity category, white maleness is here submitted to fresh, riveting, lucid, and eye-opening analysis. An exemplary account of recent U.S. mediascapes.”—Eric Lott, author of The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual

“In analyses that move deftly across economic, political, and affective registers, Hamilton Carroll draws out the dynamics of early-twenty-first-century backlash that have produced the popularity of texts as different as Brokeback Mountain and American Chopper, and draws our attention to the nuances to be found in unexpected places such as comic-book responses to 9/11. Affirmative Reaction can be read as a set of smart, related essays on a common theme, but it is also a tight, cohesive argument about recent developments in white U.S. masculinity. It will be welcomed by specialists in cultural studies, film studies, and gender studies, and it intervenes in the research conversation about the constitution of whiteness that continues in and across several fields and disciplines.”—Glenn Hendler, Director of the American Studies Program, Fordham University

Men and Masculinities - Patrick Ryan Grzanka
“Carroll is at his best when he is drawing out the substance of his multifarious analyses in order to do some theory making about contemporary white masculinity. The most powerful moments of critical insight come when he skillfully jumps from Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer in 24 to George W. Bush’s speeches on the War on Terror to Judith Butler and back to Bauer again, underscoring the connections between ideas that are neither obvious nor simple.” 
Critical Race and Whiteness Studies - Timothy Laurie
Affirmative Reaction does a good job of critiquing privileged media archetypes. . . . This book will help forward an important dialogue about the contemporary status of white ethnicity, the masculinisation of class and nation, and the development of identity politics in the United States. . . .”
Journal of Gender Studies - James Zborowski
“Carroll offers a theoretically sophisticated account of some novel recent manoeuvres of white masculine identity, which provides a powerful framework for the critical interrogation of the texts he explores, and many others.”
Choice - D. E. Magill
“Carroll’s work makes a valuable contribution to literature on contemporary masculinity and its discontents. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”
Ethnic and Racial Studies - Steve Garner
“I found Carroll’s reading coherent, convincing and resonant in many respects with the ethnographies and qualitative interviewing projects on American whiteness with which I am more familiar. Addressing whiteness as contingent, heterogeneous and rooted in cultural, political and economic shifts is a project in which a number of scholars are already engaged, and Carroll’s text is a very welcome contribution to this field.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822349297
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
01/25/2011
Series:
New Americanists
Pages:
221
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Hamilton Carroll is a Lecturer in American Literature and Culture at the University of Leeds.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >