Personality, character, and self-expression: the YMCA and the construction of manhood and class, 1877-1920

Date
2000
Authors
Winter, T.
Advisor
Supervisor
Co-Advisor
Co-Supervisor
Instructor
Source Title
Men and Masculinities
Print ISSN
1552-6828
Electronic ISSN
Publisher
Sage Publications, Inc.
Volume
2
Issue
3
Pages
272 - 285
Language
English
Type
Article
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Series
Abstract

Historians have largely neglected to explore the ways in which emerging constructions of middle-class manhood were contingent on defining and structuring class difference. Using the YMCA's efforts with railroad and industrial workers from the 1870s to the end of World War I as a case study, the author argues that definitions of class difference were an integral part to new articulations of middle-class manhood. YMCA officials hoped that workingmen would abstain from political radicalism and industrial unrest once they adopted an ideal of Christian manhood. Bringing an ideal of Christian manhood to the workers, the YMCA presumed, could engender a workforce that would set examples of sacrifice and service and exude goodwill and selflessness. While YMCA officials took part in the remaking of middle-class men's notions about the meaning of manhood, they also constructed and affirmed class differences through their cultural practices.

Course
Other identifiers
Book Title
Keywords
Manhood, Social class, YMCA, Personality, Character, Gilded age, Progressive Era, World War I
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)