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Author

Jason Demers

Date of Award

9-2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

Imre Szeman

Language

English

Abstract

My thesis, Mapping the (Con)textual Plight of Man: The Temporal and Spatial Logics of Post modern Masculinity brings together a number of Marxist and Post-Structuralist theorists in order to make sense of the notion of "crisis" that surrounds contemporary masculinity. As the alleged crisis in masculinity is a discourse that is not only embedded within fictional texts, but is also a prominent figure in social science's theories on contemporary masculinity, a necessary beginning for this project is an introduction that proposes a new theoretical apparatus for the study of masculinity - one that builds upon the work of Marxist Postmodernist theorists in order to focus upon the impact that the shift i!n capitalist logics (from a society of production to one of consumption) has haal upon masculine identity.

This theoretical apparatus is then used as a grounds to study the sentiments and violence of men in three contemporary fictional texts: Brett Easton Ellis's and Mary Harron's American Psycho, George Walker's End of Civilization, and Chuck Palahniuk's and David Fincher's Fight Club. While the first chapter serves as a context from which to study the way that the cultural logics of postmodernism affect men, the second and third chapters document and analyse the way that men strive to locate and enact an outside to postmodemist culture through a nostalgia which is, paradoxically, simply another feature of post modernism. The ultimate aim of this project, then, is to provide an objective analysis of the temporal and spatial logics which act as scripts for the performance of contemporary masculinity, and to locate an outside to the notion of crisis which fuels the frustration and violence that is evident in these three texts. It is in the third chapter, with a turn towards Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's theory ofthe rhizome, that a viable outside to this postmodem crisis is proposed and explored.

McMaster University Library

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