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Man enough to let my wife support me: How changing models of career and gender are reshaping the experience of unemployment



Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among unemployed U.S. high-technology workers, I challenge the association of job loss and unemployment with a crisis of masculinity. I argue that, in the United States today, middle-class workers conceptualize their careers as a string of contract positions, thus mitigating the personal and professional consequences of job loss and unemployment. Changing gender roles and the rise of dual-earner marriages in the United States have also reshaped the experience of middle-class unemployment, alleviating some of the emasculating effects of unemployment for men but prompting new crises for unemployed women.