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Cover for Manhood Impossible

Manhood Impossible

Men's Struggles to Control and Transform Their Bodies and Work

Scott Melzer


List Price: 32.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (8/31/2018)


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.  

Praise For Manhood Impossible: Men's Struggles to Control and Transform Their Bodies and Work

Manhood Impossible is a thoughtfully conceived, well-written, and engaging book that speaks and adds to the literature on men, manhood, and masculinity. Melzer offers analysis grounded in rich description in this fresh addition to the field.”
— Matthew B. Ezzell

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

"Stay-at-Home Dads Are Reshaping American Masculinity," by Ashley Fetters
— The Atlantic

"How Men Sabotage Themselves: And what entrepreneurs can do about it," Q&A with Scott Melzer
— One37pm

— Choice

"Grounded in fieldwork, nicely written, and engaged with feminist research."
— Gender & Society

"Manhood Impossible furthers the literature on gender and masculinity studies. It also contributes to the body of research on the sociology of the body and the sociology of the family."
— American Journal of Sociology

"Why more men are becoming stay-at-home dads"

Rutgers University Press, 9780813584898, 292pp.

Publication Date: August 31, 2018

About the Author

SCOTT MELZER is a professor of sociology and chair of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Albion College in Michigan. He is the author of Gun Crusaders: The NRA's Culture War.