The Gent-rification of English masculinities: class, race and nation in contemporary consumption

Smith, Daniel R. (2015) The Gent-rification of English masculinities: class, race and nation in contemporary consumption. Social Identities, 20 (4-5). pp. 391-406. ISSN 1363-0296

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The figure of the English gentleman is regaining traction in British society. This retrograde celebration of a type of masculinity articulating various intersections in class, racial and national identity provides not just a reliable identity-complex for contemporary British males but also imaginative solutions to the current cultural predicaments – notably, how to be English/British in the era of globalisation. This article will unpack this reformation of the gentleman and its paradoxical appearance and position at present through two consumer objects: clothing and cars. By first conceptually outlining the national, class and racialised background of the ‘gentleman’ for the British cultural imagination, the article will proceed to analyse Jack Wills’ clothing aesthetic and the recent Jaguar F-Type coupe, ‘Good to be Bad’, adverts. The article draws upon Lévi-Strauss and Jameson to conceptualise this paradoxical, mythical resurgence of gentry/gentlemanliness. By focusing on how two artefacts utilise an Americanised mythical narrative of Britishness, I claim the contemporary landscape sees the oxymoronic return of an archaic character-type refigured in a manner appropriate for an increasingly plural, multi-cultural global landscape.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: gentleman, Englishness, masculinity, Lévi-Strauss, whiteness, Americanisation
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Daniel R. Smith
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2018 14:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01

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