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    Materials, skills and gender identities: men, women and home improvement practices in New Zealand

    Cox, Rosie (2016) Materials, skills and gender identities: men, women and home improvement practices in New Zealand. Gender, Place & Culture 23 (4), pp. 572-588. ISSN 0966-369X.

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    The paper explores the interactions of materials, skills and gender identity through examining DIY practices in New Zealand. It traces the relationship between materials used for home repairs, the competences needed to use them and the (re)production of specific gendered identities. It argues that housing and building materials were an important part of the European settler history of the country and this history forms the context within which New Zealanders work on their houses today. Drawing on interviews with 30 Pākehā homeowners, it explores how both men and women respond to the materials of their homes, how skills are acquired in relation to the demands of the materials used and how these skills become part of the (re)production of specific white, heterosexual gender identities. The figure of the ‘Kiwi bloke’ is discussed as an important imaginary in the negotiation of gender identities for both men and women. Interviewees saw their DIY activities in the light of the creation and re-creation of this specific national and gendered identity. The paper reveals the intertwining of history and materiality in the continual negotiation and contestation of gendered identities.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Gender, Place & Culture on [date of publication], available online:
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): DIY, New Zealand, Masculinities, Home, Materiality
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Research Centres and Institutes: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE), Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS)
    Depositing User: Rosie Cox
    Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 13:48
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 12:11


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