Country Boys

Masculinity and Rural Life

Edited by Hugh Campbell, Michael Mayerfeld Bell, Margaret Finney

Paperback - £33.95

Publication date:

15 July 2006

Length of book:

336 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271028750

Rural masculinity is hardly a typical topic for a book. There is something unexpected, faintly disturbing, even humorous about investigating that which has long been seen and yet so often overlooked. But the ways in which we think about and socially organize masculinity are of great significance in the lives of both men and women. In Country Boys we also see that masculinity is no less significant in rural life than in urban life.

The essays in this volume offer much-needed insight into the myths and stereotypes as well as the reality of the lives of rural men. Interdisciplinary in scope, the contributions investigate what it means to be a farming man, a logging man, or a boy growing up in a country town and how this impacts both men and women in city and country. Chapters cover not only the United States but also Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, giving the book an unusually broad scope.

Country Boys demonstrates how images and realities of the lives of rural men—from cowboys, farmers, and lumberjacks to militiamen, agrarian patriarchs, and the lads down at the local pub—play central roles in the social construction of masculinities of all sorts, as well as in the gendered construction of rural life. Avoiding both idealization and denigration of rural masculinities, these essays indicate and excavate, literally and figuratively, underexplored locations to yield important and enlightening sociological insights. The essays in this volume make a very significant contribution to our understandings of the economies, sexualities, politics, and health of rural life on a global scale.”

—Harry Brod, University of Northern Iowa