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Masculinity and rurality at play in stories about hunting

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Abstract:

The hunting arena is beginning to captivate new groups of people, and the main focus of this article is rural men's gendered practices and actions in meeting the 'new' hunters. Important issues are how rural hunters construct themselves as men in relation to a modern hunting culture and which gendered and spatial opinions are incorporated into rural men's stories about hunting. Two processes that may challenge the current understanding of traditional rural masculinity are seen as particularly interesting: one is the local hunter's view on the development of commercial hunting, and the other is the local hunter's view on local 'girls' (women) entering the hunting arena. This article argues that gender and rurality must be understood as relational phenomena that are constructed through action and interaction, and that gendered practices are directly involved in social practices, at the same time as social practices both shape and change our understanding of gender. The storylines of hunting are highlighted by focusing on discursive practices of inclusion and exclusion. The article concludes that 'masculinity' and 'rurality' are tightly connected in the sense that they are both constructed in relation to 'urbanity'. In the face of urbanity, the traditional rural masculinity is reinforced in some respects, while in other respects it is opened to redefinition, such as in the meeting with the female hunters. The background material for the article includes interviews with young male hunters who have been raised in and are residents of a county in Mid-Norway.

Keywords: gendered places; gendered practices; masculinity; rurality; urbanity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950310002125

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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