Little Big Men: Bodybuilding Subculture and Gender Construction

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SUNY Press - Social Science - 326 pages
Little Big Men is a study of competitive bodybuilders on the West Coast that examines the subculture from the perspective of bodybuilders everyday activities. It offers fascinating descriptions and insightful analogies of an important and understudied subculture that has risen to widespread popularity in today s mass culture.

Alan Klein conducted his field study of bodybuilding in some of the world s best-known gyms. In studying the social and political relations of bodybuilding competitors, Klein explores not only gym dynamics but also the internal and external pressures bodybuilders face. Central to his examination is the critique of masculinity. Through his study of hustling among bodybuilders, Klein is able to construct a social-psychological male configuration that includes narcissism, homophobia, hypermasculinity, and fascism. Because they exist as exaggerations, these bodybuilder traits come to represent one end of the continuum of modern masculinity, what Klein terms comic-book masculinity. This study is a rare foray into the critique of contemporary American macho.
 

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This writing is stupid, period. Are you serious? Wow, lol, what kind of research did you do to justify these ridiculous claims? Who did you interview?

Contents

Breaking and Entering Presupposition and Faux Pas in the Gym
11
Caste and Class in a Western Gym
46
The Good the Bad and the Indifferent
63
Muscle Moguls The PoliticalEconomy of Competitive Bodybuilding
81
Little Big Men of Olympic
108
SUBCULTURAL ANALYSIS OF BODYBUILDING
135
Pumping Irony Crisis and Contradiction in Bodybuilding
137
Sallys Corner The Women of Olympic
159
The Hustler Complex Narcissism Homophobia Hypermasculinity and Authoritarianism
194
ComicBook Masculinity and Cultural Fiction
234
Appendix A
281
Appendix B
291
Notes
295
Index
323
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About the author

Alan M. Klein is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. He is the author of Sugarball: The American Game, The Dominican Dream.

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