"YOU DEAL WITH WHAT SHE SENDS": MASCULINE PERFORMANCES AMONG NEWFOUNDLAND OFFSHORE-WORKING FATHERS

Nicholas Hartmann

Abstract


ON A FREQUENT BASIS IN the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a father, knowing that he will not be able to say goodbye to his children in the early hours of the morning, gives them a more intense goodnight hug before putting them to bed. He does this for multiple reasons, but mainly because it makes the transition easier for all involved. He will not see them, or his wife, for anywhere from three to six weeks; usually, it is around four. For many working fathers in the province, this happens six to eight times a year: leaving early to get on a helicopter, boat or airplane to work in the offshore oil industry. At any time, there are hundreds of people, mostly men, working offshore in the province, and the industry is a lifeline for a region that is recovering from economic decline and outmigration, a task that long defined the province in the minds of many. While the industry takes people to Alberta, the Gulf of Mexico, and even to sub-Saharan Africa, these workers are often rooted in the communities in which they were born and raised, and such a livelihood has helped keep long-declining communities afloat.

Keywords


Folklore; Gender performance; Masculinity; Offshore

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