The “new industrial man” as un-hero:doing postfeminist masculinities in an Italian pharmacological research centre

Pecis, Lara and Priola, Cinzia (2019) The “new industrial man” as un-hero:doing postfeminist masculinities in an Italian pharmacological research centre. Gender, Work and Organization, 26 (10). pp. 1413-1432. ISSN 0968-6673

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Recent work has documented the need to engage with how men construct masculinities within postfeminist discourses in the workplace. Postfeminism has sparked debates concerning the changing ideals of masculinities, highlighting the tensions between traditional forms of patriarchy and “new” ways of being a man (e.g. emotional, a “new father”, in crisis). Men have been depicted as being in search of a new identity, opposed to the ever-growing confidence and empowerment of women. In mobilising postfeminism as a discourse, this article illustrates how men working in an Italian pharmacological research centre (managed by men but dominated by women) assume subject positions that contradictorily fluctuate between tradition and fluid modernity, to reveal a masculinity which we identify with “the new industrial man”. The postfeminist masculinities exposed in the analysis mesh pro- and anti-feminist ideas by appealing to un/heroic and romanticized subjectivities. The analysis also shows how un/heroic masculinities and men’s appeal to biological differences to reinforce social ones and devalue the feminine obfuscate organisational gender inequalities. The paper advances masculinity theory by offering a nuanced analysis of how masculinities and men are affected by paradoxical contemporary pressures for more egalitarian gender relations and a renewed emphasis on patriarchal traditions, which continue to support the gendering of the workplace.

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Journal Article
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Gender, Work and Organization
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Pecis, L, Priola, V. The ‘new industrial man’ as unhero: Doing postfeminist masculinities in an Italian pharmacological research centre. Gender Work Organ. 2019. doi: 10.1111/gwao.12359 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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08 Mar 2019 15:00
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:20