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Contemporary Masculinities in Fiction, Film and Television

While masculinity has been an increasingly visible field of study within several disciplines (sociology, literary studies, cultural studies, film and tv) over the last two decades, it is surprising that analysis of contemporary representations of the first part of the century has yet to emerge. Professor Brian Baker, evolving from his previous work Masculinities in Fiction and Film: Representing Men in Popular Genres 1945-2000, intervenes to rectify the scholarship in the field to produce a wide-ranging, readable text that deals with films and other texts produced since the year 2000. Focusing on representations of masculinity in cinema, popular fiction and television from the period 2000-2010, he argues that dominant forms of masculinity in Britain and the United States have become increasingly informed by anxiety, trauma and loss, and this has resulted in both narratives that reflect that trauma and others which attempt to return to a more complete and heroic form of masculinity. While focusing on a range of popular genres, such as Bond films, war movies, science fiction and the Gothic, the work places close analyses of individual films and texts in their cultural and historical contexts, arguing for the importance of these popular fictions in diagnosing how contemporary Britain and the United States understand themselves and their changing role in the world through the representation of men, fully recognising the issues of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and age. Baker draws upon current work in mobility studies and in the study of masculinities to produce the first book-length comparative study of masculinity in popular culture of the first decade of the twenty-first century.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction Part I: narratives of power 1. Gallivanting round the world 2. Masters and Commanders 3. American hearts of darkness 4. The Special Relationship Part II: science fiction 5. The enclave and the border 6. Dystopia and the post-apocalyptic scene 7. Alien Nations 8. Everybody Runs 9. Annihilations Part III: gothic/ horror/ the fantastic 10. Tape Spectra 11. Orpheus Descending 12. Lecter 13. The Angels and the Damned Conclusion Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Analyses representations of British and American masculinities of the period 2000-2010 in terms of mobility, trauma and the ideological constructions of subject and nation.

About the Author

Brian Baker is a Senior Lecturer in English at Lancaster University, UK. He has published Iain Sinclair (2007) and has written numerous articles and book chapters on the study and teaching of masculinities in literature and popular film.


Contemporary Masculinities in Fiction, Film and Television brilliantly dissects the images of masculinity expressed, and interrogated, in the films and novels of the troubled noughties. This is a wide-ranging, scholarly book, in which Brian Baker presents an encyclopaedic overview of his topic. He diagnoses a continued sense of masculinity in crisis in films as varied as Casino Royale, the Star Wars saga, The Hurt Locker, Frost/Nixon or The Damned United but also pinpoints how these masculinities are re-touched and re-worked in response to the changed post-millennial context. His detailed analyses revealingly place novels and films in their historical moment, alert to contemporary anxieties about a globalized world that is at once dynamic and obsessed with boundaries. A book full of lucid theoretical insights, this is an excellent, much-needed introduction to masculinities in contemporary fiction and film, essential reading for all students and researchers of gender. * Sabine Vanacker, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Hull, UK * In this timely and valuable book, Baker offers a refreshing approach to masculinities in contemporary films, one that supplements earlier accounts of masculinity with more contemporary questions about media representations of men. With his focus on highly topical issues-globalisation and global mobility; late capitalism, and particularly financialism and global capital flows; embodiedness and the implicit aura of paranoia running through discourses of terrorism; the `others' of science fiction; and the repositioning of anti-heroes as heroic-Baker effectively addresses some of the key contemporary discourses within media constructions of masculinity. * Mike Chopra-Gant, Reader in Media, Culture and Communications, London Metropolitan University, UK * Baker adopts a wide-ranging research perspective... encompassing British and American films, novels, and short stories. As a result, we come to realize that gender constructions are transnational; no one, it seems, knows what the future will bring for masculinity. Perhaps we need to acknowledge the presence of pluralism and do our best to widen our interpretive focus. * Journal of American culture *

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