Bygdas unge menn: En studie av bygdemenns forhandlinger om og utforming av «rurale maskuliniteter»
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- Institutt for geografi 
Today, young rural men face many challenges resulting from structural changes in the rural work life, increasing demands for gender equality, rising pressure on rural resources such as hunting and fishing, and media portrayals of rural men as marginalized losers. In this dissertation I direct attention to the challenges and processes young rural men are facing as they negotiate and construct rural masculinities. I study how they can be as ‘men’ in their home community, and in particular how they construct rural masculinities in relation to men and women of the same age and those coming from ‘outside’. Using as a point of departure a personal account of my experience being a young female scholar conducting a study on young rural men, I also give an account of the gendered hazards of fieldwork and how the personal can be used as a source of new knowledge about men, masculinity and rurality. The project is situated in rural studies and gender studies, in particular men and masculinity research. The dissertation builds on a qualitative study of a farming and forestry community in mid-Norway, and the data are largely obtained through individual in-depth interviews with young rural men who have grown up and live in the area. The project also includes a participant-observation study of the community’s hunting culture. The study shows that the area is a place for men with hands-on knowledge. Young rural men have to master nature and machines, and they construct rural masculinities by showing interest in and knowledge of hunting, outdoor life, cars and snowmobiles. Although ideas about rural masculinity are somewhat traditional and hard to change, there is a certain flexibility regarding how men can construct their masculinity. The men in the study area enact new and alternative masculinities, expressed in relation to new employment opportunities in the service sector, through emotional openness and caring, and in relation to traditional masculine spaces such as hunting and snowmobiling. The men are not ‘staying behind’ in an old and very traditional gender role system, but their flexibility is limited to adding new traits. Subtracting old ones is more difficult. The ways in which the young rural men negotiate and construct rural masculinities revolves around the idea of difference. Constructing themselves in contrast to urban people and life in the city, they rebuild their masculine identity and pride. Their choice of residence is best understood as a lifestyle choice. They have chosen a life in the rural community and by emphasizing their need to be ‘close to nature’, and fish and game, they upgrade the idea of ‘staying behind’ in rural areas. Through their concern about flexibility in their work life, and by focusing on leisure activities instead of work, the men construct living in the rural community as an investment in ‘the good life’. It can be argued that young rural men are constructing and negotiating rural masculinities by making a contrast to urban life and career-based lifestyles. As the hunting arena is captured by new groups of people, hunting is becoming a place to demarcate, upgrade, and reinforce rural masculinity. The young rural men understand themselves as ‘real’ hunters. Urban hunters are talked about as ‘the big shots’ and ‘the urban boy’s club,’ and are characterized as wearing expensive Gore-Tex clothing. The contrasting ideal that rural men do not use synthetic fabrics, but ‘ordinary clothes’, strongly indicates the men’s closeness to nature and ‘the natural’. Accordingly, young rural men define themselves as someone being able to appreciate ‘simple living’. The dissertation consists of three published articles, and a synthesis. The project was funded by The Norwegian Research Council.
Has partsBye, Linda M.. Masculinity and rurality at play in stories about hunting. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift. (ISSN 0029-1951). 57: 145-153, 2003. 10.1080/00291950310002125.
Bye, Linda Marie. Feltarbeidets kjønnede farer. Nordisk Samhällsgeografisk tidsskrift. (ISSN 0282-4329). 39: 25-43, 2005.
Bye, Linda Marie. ‘How to be a rural man’: Young men’s performances and negotiationsof rural masculinities. . 25: 278-288, 2009. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2009.03.002.