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Masculinity, tourism and transgression: a qualitative study of British stag tourism in an Eastern European City

By Thomas Thurnell-Read


This thesis explores the recent phenomenon of premarital stag party tours made to Eastern European cities by groups of British men. It is based on ethnographic field research in Krakow, Poland, conducted over the course of one year. The use of qualitative methods, primarily participant-observation, allows for the exploration of the in situ meanings and social interactions which define the stag weekend. The thesis argues that the behaviour of stag tour groups offers considerable insight into masculinity and that the meanings attributed to such behaviour reveal complex construction of contemporary British masculinities. It is argued that the Eastern European stag tour is both sold and consumed on the premise that it represents a distinct physical, social and symbolic space and time within which masculine behaviour can be enacted. This is seen as a liminal space within which an exaggerated hyper-masculinity based on a carnivalesque social transgression becomes possible and desired. It is argued that the stag tour is both performative and embodied. The male body plays a central role through the consumption of alcohol, its effects upon the body and the use of bodies by stag tourists to foster an ethos of playfulness and enact a transgressive release from social restraint. Intimacy, sociability and group cohesion play a significant role in shaping the meaning of the stag weekend for tour participants. The thesis concludes that the stag tour represents a meaningful and symbolic moment for its participants, which is mediated by notions of masculinity and homosociality. While the stag tour represents a manifestation of hegemonic masculinity in a narrow sense, it also highlights the adaptability, rather than „crisis‟, of masculinity for the men involved

Topics: BF, HM
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