Abstract

Recognizing the existence of multiple masculine identities and the distinction between rough manhood and respectable manhood, this article focuses on one dimension of rough manhood--the aggressive and combative behavior among workers and between workers and managers in the American automobile industry. Though many auto workers aspired to the social responsibility and economic security of respectable manhood, in the 1920s and 1930s the dramatic changes of line and mechanized production, work reorganization and degradation, and economic deprivation challenged their ambitions toward respectability and fostered their rough shop-floor demeanor and behavior. The United Automobile Workers' Union grievance records revealed that the auto workers' contentious engagements, ranging from playful mischief to savage fights, sometimes represented a simple defense of personal autonomy and dignity and sometimes directly challenged the symbols or realities of managerial authority.

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 125-147
Launched on MUSE
2002-09-01
Open Access
No
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