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The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930 (Chicago Series on Sexuality, History & Society) Hardcover – 5 Jun 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd ed. edition (5 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226500675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226500676
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,991,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


In this history of manhood and masculinity, the author argues that modern formulations of masculinity, despite any sense of naturalness and constancy, are in fact, idealized cultural products of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He examines the process of social construction whereby this traditionalized model of the heterosexual male was selected, delineated, and maintained. The author focuses attention on two domains essential to the legitimation of Western cultural constructs - medicine and the law. Through court reports and newspaper accounts, McLaren shows how everyday people, not just the juridical elite, helped to define through their testimony an ideal of manhood and proper masculine behaviour. He then considers the medical world: psychiatrists and sexologists emerged as arbiters of sexual and gender differences, devising new categories of deficient masculinity - homosexuals, sadists, exhibitionists, and transvestites. Forming such deviant types required the medical community, he argues, to further demarcate a particular form of preferred masculinity.

About the Author

Angus McLaren

is a leading figure in the history of sexuality, professor emeritus of history at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the author of several books, including"The Trials of Masculinity: Policing of Sexual Boundaries, 1870 1930"

;"A Prescription for Murder"

; and"Impotence: A Cultural History"


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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsAcademic studies of sexual behavior of men.
2 September 1998 - Published on Amazon.com
2 people found this helpful.