Fra metro til retro? Maskuliniteter i norsk populærkultur på 2000-tallet
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- PhD theses (SV-IMKS) 
Original versionFra metro til retro? Maskuliniteter i norsk populærkultur på 2000-tallet by Fredrik Langeland, Stavanger : University of Stavanger, 2014 (PhD thesis UiS, no. 238)
This thesis is concerned with the emergence of, and tensions between, «new» and «traditional» masculinities in Norwegian popular culture in the 2000s. It focuses particularly on metrosexuality, which signifies a preoccupation with appearance and a new «looked-at-ness» for young men, and retrosexuality, a more traditionally oriented and explicitly heterosexual figure with a penchant for nostalgia. These two concepts, coined by the British journalist and writer Mark Simpson, were initially seen as different versions of idealized masculinity. During the 2000s they became popularized as media discourses and used as marketing tools. British soccer player David Beckham has been particularly influential as the leading metrosexual icon. These two masculinities were introduced and disseminated in Norwegian popular culture during the 2000s, and the thesis addresses specific articulations in which both transnational and local cultural norms and attitudes are being expressed in a specific context. A particular analytical focus is directed toward how representations in popular culture are entangled with the contemporary Norwegian political and cultural climate, with an emphasis on gender equality regimes in a postmodern media context. This backdrop is important for analyzing potential conflicts and antagonisms that emerge in the relation between metrosexuality and retrosexuality. Empirically, the thesis analyzes a variety of forms in linguistic and visual media, such as TV programs, photographs, magazines and newspaper articles. In methodological terms, it makes use of textual and discourse analysis as developed within cultural studies. Theoretically, it positions itself mainly within masculinity studies and cultural studies, and enters into critical dialogue with Raewyn Connell and her seminal concept hegemonic masculinity. Through the launch of three analytical concepts, the thesis intends to stimulate nuanced future readings of masculinities in contemporary popular culture. The thesis consists of four articles with an introduction. Article 1 and 2 focus mainly on retrosexuality, while article 3 and 4 focus on metrosexuality. In the first article, the Norwegian TV program «Manshow», which was aired on the commercial channel TV2 Zebra from 2006 to 2009, provides an opportunity to analyze conflicts concerning masculinities in Norwegian popular culture at that time. «Manshow» was a TV program with an explicit male chauvinistic profile and an emphasis on heterosexual male bonding. Through a close reading of the premiere of the show’s first episode in 2006, the article emphasizes how «Manshow» creates a space where men have free access to enjoyment, through activities such as drinking beer and objectifying women. This is made possible by the use of irony, or what is characterized as the reflexive nostalgia of masculinity. The second article argues that warrior masculinity has become influential in Norwegian contemporary media and popular culture in the 2000s. It focuses specifically on the men’s magazine Alfa, launched in 2010, which gave rise to a media debate on the representation of Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan. The soldiers were presented in the magazine as warriors who stated that killing people was better than sex. Warrior masculinity is not unique to Alfa; it can also be seen in other areas of Norwegian contemporary culture, in popular practices such as «paintball» and «airsoft». To grasp the continuum between different aspects of warrior masculinity, the article therefore launches the concept of imaginary warriors. Article three analyzes metrosexuality as a broad cultural phenomenon in Norwegian popular culture in the 2000s. In 2002 metrosexuality was presented in the Norwegian media, as a characteristic of the self-absorbed and narcissistic «new» man. A few years later, in 2006, the Norwegian handballer Kristian Kjelling was depicted in a manner similar to the British soccer player David Beckham, in an advertising campaign for the tanning salon company «Brun og Blid». Metrosexuality was now also to be seen in many areas of Norwegian popular culture. At the same time an antimetrosexual reaction surfaced. The article presents the concept of post-traditional masculinity, to contextualize the potentially challenging aspects of metrosexuality, vis-à-vis essentialist notions of masculinity. The fourth article is co-written with Finnish researcher Jan Wickman, and discusses variations in the definitions of metrosexuality by analyzing contrasting examples of six sexualized media representations of athletes from three Nordic countries: Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The Nordic region is made up of nation-states of similar size, with relatively similar social systems and, perhaps most importantly in this context, parallel gender cultures. The article highlights the intersection of the global and the local in the representations of metrosexuality, but underscores the importance of national context and national identity while analyzing images of male athletes.
Doktoravhandling i kjønnsforskning.
Has partsLangeland, F. 2011. «Maskulinitetens refleksive nostalgi i Tv2 Zebras Manshow». Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning 35 (4): 275-292.
Langeland, F. 2012. «Soldater med lyst til å drepe. Krigermaskulinitet i mannebladet Alfa». Norsk medietidsskrift 19 (4): 312-333.
Langeland, F. 2013. «Se på meg. Metroseksualitet i norsk populærkultur». I: Mühleisen, W. og Lorentzen, J. (red.): Å være sammen. Intimitetens nye vilkår. Oslo: Akademika forlag.
Wickman, J. og Langeland, F. 2013. «Metrosexuality as a body discourse. Masculinity and Sports Stars in Global and Local Contexts». I: Jafar, A. og Casanova, E. (red.): Global Beauty. Local Bodies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.