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Republican Citizens, Precarious SubjectsRepresentations of Work in Post-Fordist France$
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Jeremy F. Lane

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622140

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622140.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Modulated Masculinities

Modulated Masculinities

(p.103) Chapter 3 Modulated Masculinities
Republican Citizens, Precarious Subjects

Jeremy F. Lane

Liverpool University Press

The middle-aged male worker, bridling at the demands of the contemporary workplace has become a recurrent character type in recent French feature films and novels. Often, this male protagonist’s problems at work are mirrored by his difficulties at home retaining his authority as a paterfamilias. These films and novels hence offer a proliferation of narratives featuring middle-aged men struggling to modulate their professional identities and masculine roles in accordance with the demands of the contemporary workplace. As such, these narratives may also reflect the centrality of the male breadwinner and the patriarchal nuclear family to the French social model and hence may represent a series of conservative responses to perceived crises of masculinity and the nuclear family. The chapter shows that this kind of conservative response is epitomised by the novels of Houellebecq, in which laments at the loss of patriarchy are articulated to a critique of contemporary forms of immaterial labour in a particularly insistent fashion. The chapter then turns to a selection of films and novels that offer more nuanced representations of middle-aged male workers and their difficulties with work and family.

Keywords:   immaterial labour, masculinity, family, nation, class, ethnicity

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