Subculture of Deer Hunters and the Negotiation of Masculinity: An Ethnographic Investigation of Hunting in the Rural South

By Jon Littlefield


Hunting is an important recreational activity for many men in the rural south and as such, it represents a backdrop from which to view the social development of masculinity within families and among the community of adult men. Despite the importance of this activity, little research has examined the consumption implications of and socialization into hunting. This project uses the ethnographic methods of participant observation and depth interviews to examine the role of hunting in socializing men through stages of development from neophytes to competent hunters, and describes five groups into which these hunters may develop. While current conceptualizations of community in the consumer research literature, including subcultures of consumption (Schouten and McAlexander 1995), brand communities (Muñiz and O’Guinn 2001), and tribal marketing (Cova and Cova 2002), describe phenomena that are of relatively short duration and are highly market mediated, I suggest an alternate conceptualization of community that includes the long family socialization process—often covering multiple generations within families—and activities that may be less market mediated than those previously studied.

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