Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Rosalind Harris

Abstract

The residue of racism, institutional discrimination, and class warfare continue to displace constructions of masculinity for African-American men in farming by shifting the drive for success onto the sidewalk of survival. The shifting focus migrates from goals of economic and political gain to simply shielding masculinity through acts of providing for and protecting the family. African-American men’s failure to acknowledge these quandaries in Western society’s social structure entraps their masculine identity by keeping their focus on issues of race and social class which overshadow the broad gender transformations. The deceptive social forces underlying this social structure hurl African conditions are unique to the plight of African American men farming, and their loss of farms and land. One must understand and ask the pivotal questions within the social constructions of masculinities - what factors currently explain the social construction of masculinities for African American men farming in North Carolina and as a result of these constructions what decisions are African American farmers being forced to make as they negotiate issues of survivability for their farms?

The study explores the social construction of masculine identity among African-American men in farming and the impacts of these constructions using ethnographic methods. A total of ten in-depth interviews, three focus groups, and two participant observations were conducted using a quota sampling method. The study population consists of African-American men farming in North Carolina between the ages of fifty and seventy-five. The findings were open coded to build a typology so that a content analysis could be performed. All data was analyzed using NVIVO version 11.0.

Results indicate that the African American men farming in North Carolina between the ages of fifty and seventy-five construct their masculinity around performing acts of masculinity, how they perceive the roles of women in farming, the politics of farming, through the various ways they make community, religion, and healthy food.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.421