In Manhood Impossible, Scott Melzer argues that boys’ and men’s bodies and breadwinner status are the two primary sites for their expression of control. Controlling selves and others, and resisting being dominated and controlled is most connected to men’s bodies and work. However, no man can live up to these culturally ascendant ideals of manhood. The strategies men use to manage unmet expectations often prove toxic, not only for men themselves, but also for other men, women, and society. Melzer strategically explores the lives of four groups of adult men struggling with contemporary body and breadwinner ideals. These case studies uncover men’s struggles to achieve and maintain manhood, and redefine what it means to be a man.
"Manhood Impossible provides astute sociological insight into how men struggle to resuscitate their feelings of masculinity and access the exclusive dominion of manhood. With its intriguing case studies, accessible writing style, and ethnographic slant, this is an excellent book that students and scholars are sure to love."
—Kristen Barber, author of Styling Masculinity: Gender, Class, and Inequality in the Men's Grooming Industry
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Gun Crusaders is a fascinating inside look at how the four-million member National Rifle Association and its committed members come to see each and every gun control threat as a step down the path towards gun confiscation, and eventually socialism. Enlivened by a rich analysis of NRA materials, meetings, leader speeches, and unique in-depth interviews with NRA members, Gun Crusaders focuses on how the NRA constructs and perceives threats to gun rights as one more attack in a broad liberal cultural war. Scott Melzer shows that the NRA promotes a nostalgic vision of frontier masculinity, whereby gun rights defenders are seen as patriots and freedom fighters, defending not the freedom of religion, but the religion of individual rights and freedoms.
“Melzer brilliantly integrates deep personal observation with data and theory to construct a three-dimensional portrait of the modern gun rights movement. In a wonderfully written, engaging, and scrupulously fair narrative, Melzer’s book makes a major contribution to our understanding of this tumultuous social movement and also happens to be a really good read. It's fresh, clear-eyed, and fair. Anyone wanting to understand the gun movement must read this book.”
—Robert J. Spitzer, author of The Politics of Gun Control