A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men’s Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region’s Masculine Structure

Citation:

Filteau, Matthew R. 2015. “A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men’s Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region’s Masculine Structure.” Rural Sociology 80 (4): 431–55. doi:10.1111/ruso.12072.

Author: Matthew R. Filteau

Abstract:

Rural economic decline in the United States has contributed to new situational conditions under which men construct masculinity. Under these conditions, men define jobs and activities that were feminized during periods of economic stability as masculine. One exception to rural economic decline for men is economic growth associated with oil and natural gas development in geographical hot spots throughout the United States and around the world. Employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry largely favor men; however, it is unclear what effect this development has on local men because itinerant extralocal male workers complete most of the labor. This article conceptualizes masculinity as a social structure, and uses economic reports and theoretically distinct literatures on natural-resource-based masculinities and energy boomtowns to illuminate how multinational energy companies and a predominantly extralocal, male itinerant workforce in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region cause adverse situational conditions for local men's constructions of masculinity. Within the new masculine structure, extralocal men's constructions of hegemonic masculinity become more important for defining the local socially dominant masculinity, which subordinates local men's constructions of nonhegemonic masculinities in their own communities. The article concludes with a discussion of how the oil and gas industry's hegemonic masculinity impedes sustainable economic development and community well-being.

Topics: Development, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2015

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