The Astronaut: Cultural Mythology and Idealised Masculinity interrogates the historical and cultural dynamics of one of the most revered icons of the 20th century. Analysing a diverse range of cultural representations the book postulates the construction of an intertextual mythology through which the astronaut becomes an embodiment of American ideological values and heroic manhood. The discursive processes at work in the range of media texts examined serve to embed the astronaut into the cultural imaginary as a largely coherent and uncontested exemplar of idealised masculinity. Using a range of interdisciplinary analytical tools the book examines how the social construction of this masculine ideal iterates and naturalises gender hegemony. The book situates the astronaut within the context of a modern/postmodern theoretical framework linking shifts in gender perspectives to the contradictory narratives and characterisations that inform the mediation of the astronaut. In so doing, the book argues for a re-evaluation of the, often oversimplified, use of the term hegemonic masculinity as an anchoring point for the critique of masculinity. The strength of this work is its interdisciplinary diversity and its interconnection of a range of themes including gender, representation, history, ideology, the postmodern and the media. Drawing upon contemporary theoretical debates while redeploying seminal theoretical texts the book offers new cultural interrogations of a highly familiar historical subject.
About the Author: Dario Llinares completed his PhD in 2009 in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds, England. Throughout his postgraduate study he has worked in the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University leading modules on Popular Cinema, Documentary, and Media Theory and History. He has also taught TV: History and Analysis at the University of York, and Gender Studies at the University of Leeds. He is currently engaged in new research areas including representations of violence and masculinity in the British Prison film, and the effects of digital communication on lifestyle, interpersonal relationships and gender identity. He is the co-organiser of Austere Culture/Cultures of Austerity: Reactions to the Erosions of Critical Spaces, an international conference held at Leeds Metropolitan University in September 2011. In October 2011 he takes up a new position as Lecturer in Film and Digital Media at University College Falmouth.