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Capturing Homosocial Worlds in the Photographs of the Rugby Club, 1891–1919

Matthews-Jones, L (2022) Capturing Homosocial Worlds in the Photographs of the Rugby Club, 1891–1919. Gender and History. ISSN 0953-5233

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12676 (Published version)


This article argues that photographs enable historians to understand the visual utterances of homosocial relationships in cross-class organisations. It explores how peer-to-peer and crossclass homosocial relationships were captured by photographers working at Rugby Club, West London. Photographs offer us the rare chance to uncover working-class male experiences of club life, so often missing in written accounts of the social settlement movement. The article considers how photography captured the performances of peer-to-peer and cross-class friendships. It does this through an exploration of the Rugby Club’s summer camp photographs. To explore this, I will investigate how homosocial networks were captured in two visual utterances: firstly, by considering the moment the camera shutter closed and, secondly, how these photographs were remobilized in the printed circulars sent to working-class men fighting in the First World War. These photographs gesture to how homosociability within a cross-class space was vertical (by class and age) and horizonal (peer-to-peer). The performances of homosociality enacted push against the argument that heteronormativity imposed bodily restriction on men and that all-male associations were able to be enact closeness and personal connection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender Studies; 1699 Other Studies in Human Society; 2103 Historical Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2022 12:41
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2022 10:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/1468-0424.12676
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18200
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