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Title:Reality Bites? The Cultural Politics of Generation X and Youthful White Masculinities in Sport and Popular Culture in 1990s America
Author(s):Kusz, Kyle William
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sydnor, Synthia
Department / Program:Kinesiology and Community Health
Discipline:Kinesiology and Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:In this dissertation, I produce a critical conjunctural analysis of the themes and meanings articulated with a number of youthful white masculinities throughout the 1990s in American sport and popular culture that are simultaneously constituted by, and constitutive of, the Generation X discursive formation of this era. In particular, I examine the images of white masculinity produced within media representations of American tennis star, Andre Agassi, a 1997 Sports Illustrated cover story, "Whatever happened to the white athlete?," and the emergent sport formation of extreme sports. I also offer an alternative way of making sense of the Generation X phenomenon by reading it as a symptom of 1990s America and showing how the main identity---the slacker---and knowledge produced under its sign operate to reproduce the central and normative social and cultural position of white masculinity within the American social formation. I highlight how these sites, among others within 1990s American popular culture, offer images of white males as different, victimized, marginalized, unprivileged, and as both hyper-masculinited and feminized. Such images of white masculinity are best understood as instruments and effects of a white male backlash politics that seeks to disavow and deny the privileged position of white masculinity in order to re-secure its central, privileged, and normative position within a historical conjuncture of social, cultural, political, and economic changes that have threatened it. My investigation of these various cultural productions of youthful white masculinity within American sport and popular culture during the 1990s are grounded in the ideas of the British cultural studies tradition and the relatively new field of whiteness studies.
Issue Date:2003
Description:301 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3086108
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2003

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