Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts


Media Studies


Tim Blackmore


Working-class masculinity has lost its steam. Since 2008, a sub-genre of Hollywood films has emerged that depicts the current crisis, and imminent demise, of working-class masculinity in the United States. The 2008 financial crisis has had devastating effects on the American economy, and particularly the working-class, whose precarious economic position has only been exacerbated under neoliberalism. These effects have become the thematic focus of a fringe genre of films, which show how the destabilization of the American economy has incited greater instability in gender relations, and has had an acute impact on working-class men. This thesis proceeds by analyzing how these films articulate the current crisis of working-class masculinity in America. Using the framework outlined by R.W. Connell, I explore how working-class masculinity has become marginalized in relation to neoliberal hegemonic masculinity, and how its marginalization has become an excitatory factor for inter-masculine violence, constituting a social problem.

Summary for Lay Audience

By studying the films Out of the Furnace (2013), Warrior (2011), and Manchester by the Sea (2016), this thesis seeks to identify how Hollywood has represented the working-class in decline, and how blue collar men have struggled in their masculinities since the market crash of 2008. By analyzing the relationships between working-class men in these films, and how these men live out their lives, we gain insight into the conditions of working-class masculinity in American culture at this time. Such an analysis serves to deepen our understanding of the problems with working-class masculinity at hand, and in doing so helps us address these problems moving forward.