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From meritocracy to seniority : shifting masculine aesthetics among blue-collar workers in Montréal Lachine

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From meritocracy to seniority : shifting masculine aesthetics among blue-collar workers in Montréal Lachine

Desforges, Exan Yuen (2008) From meritocracy to seniority : shifting masculine aesthetics among blue-collar workers in Montréal Lachine. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the workplace culture of young blue-collar males employed by the Department of Green Spaces in the Public Works of the City of Lachine. 2004 marked the beginning of a structural shift that profoundly impacted upon local ideations of work ethics and masculinity. Through extensive participant-observation based field research, I was able to explore how workers interacted with and made sense of their changing world. Following a series of media exposés criticizing the productivity of public workers, les cols bleus are often pre-conceived by citizens and politicians as being "lazy." This stereotype fails to take into consideration the diversity that exists. By focusing on current aspects of the workplace experience as well as how the organization of labour was configured in the past, I was able to explore an adjustment in masculine aesthetics that prioritized mental labour over manual labour, a product of the current hegemonic regime. Through the position of the raconteur , a model I have developed by drawing upon anthropological analyses of working-class masculinity and symbolic performances, attention is brought to the local importance of discursive language. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates, through the contested discourses of col bleu members surrounding the complex issues of workplace participation, that if we want to improve our understanding of working-class culture and masculinity, neither can be treated monolithically. The way in which work, life and change are negotiated must be investigated if popular notions of gender and class are to be challenged.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Desforges, Exan Yuen
Pagination:vii, 298 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Cole, S
ID Code:976000
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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