I sekulariseringens skugga. Manlighet och religiös tematik i svensk och amerikansk 1920-talsfilm

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I sekulariseringens skugga. Manlighet och religiös tematik i svensk och amerikansk 1920-talsfilm. / Gustafsson, Tommy.

In: Tidskrift för genusvetenskap, No. 3-4, 2008, p. 91-113.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - I sekulariseringens skugga. Manlighet och religiös tematik i svensk och amerikansk 1920-talsfilm

AU - Gustafsson, Tommy

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - There existed a great ambivalence concerning masculinity and its relationship to religion in the decades around the last turn of the century. The historical encoding process of religion, from gender neutral to feminine, have in general been interpreted as something solely negative for the constitution of masculinity during this period. Consequently, religious encoded masculinities have been deemed as deviations from the norm; as a negative feminisation. This assumption does not consider secularisation as an ongoing process, instead taking secularisation for granted when in fact Christianity and religiousness were still very much alive throughout Western societies. The focus for this article have been to examine images of Christ and Christ-like characters in Swedish and American films, and also how ordinary religious male characters were received, and what functions these images of religious manhood performed in these films, and society at large. The clear tendency was that a modern, more active masculinity was on its way to oust an older, more passive masculinity based on spiritual values – manifested, for example, in that films with clear religious themes were enacted in a distant past. However, the contemporary reception clearly shows that the images of these religious male characters were not feminised due to religion. Instead, spiritualised forms of masculinities functioned as a legitimate alternative alongside modern masculinity. This indicates that religion was not yet essentially encoded as ‘feminine’. Although some forms of masculine encoded emotions were controlled in the public, this did not at all include softer expressions of emotions that in earlier research have been explained as signs of femininity in relation to an ideal masculinity. Conversely, the predicament for spiritualised masculinities occurred when narratives included a woman (the love story), which unavoidably tilted the focus from the soul to the masculine body, thereby (hetero)sexualising the male character in a way that often worked as a feminisation.

AB - There existed a great ambivalence concerning masculinity and its relationship to religion in the decades around the last turn of the century. The historical encoding process of religion, from gender neutral to feminine, have in general been interpreted as something solely negative for the constitution of masculinity during this period. Consequently, religious encoded masculinities have been deemed as deviations from the norm; as a negative feminisation. This assumption does not consider secularisation as an ongoing process, instead taking secularisation for granted when in fact Christianity and religiousness were still very much alive throughout Western societies. The focus for this article have been to examine images of Christ and Christ-like characters in Swedish and American films, and also how ordinary religious male characters were received, and what functions these images of religious manhood performed in these films, and society at large. The clear tendency was that a modern, more active masculinity was on its way to oust an older, more passive masculinity based on spiritual values – manifested, for example, in that films with clear religious themes were enacted in a distant past. However, the contemporary reception clearly shows that the images of these religious male characters were not feminised due to religion. Instead, spiritualised forms of masculinities functioned as a legitimate alternative alongside modern masculinity. This indicates that religion was not yet essentially encoded as ‘feminine’. Although some forms of masculine encoded emotions were controlled in the public, this did not at all include softer expressions of emotions that in earlier research have been explained as signs of femininity in relation to an ideal masculinity. Conversely, the predicament for spiritualised masculinities occurred when narratives included a woman (the love story), which unavoidably tilted the focus from the soul to the masculine body, thereby (hetero)sexualising the male character in a way that often worked as a feminisation.

KW - performativity

KW - Swedish film culture

KW - 1920s

KW - Christ

KW - secularisation

KW - masculinity

KW - religion

M3 - Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

SP - 91

EP - 113

JO - Tidskrift för genusvetenskap

JF - Tidskrift för genusvetenskap

SN - 2001-1377

IS - 3-4

ER -