Publication Details

Donaldson, M, Researching Ruling-Class Men: Biography, Autobiography, Life-History, Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, 1997, 2(1), 93-104. Copyright 1997 University of Newcastle. Journal information can be found here.


There has been a lot of use of the concept 'hegemonic masculinity' and little discussion of its meaning. Because the problem of distance from and access to men of great wealth and power cannot be resolved through traditional interviewing and participant observation techniques, this article develops an alternative method by which the masculinity of the hegemonic might be investigated. It argues that biographies and autobiographies of ruling-class men can be seen as 'found life-histories'and that the technique of 'saturation' can be usefully applied to them.This article proposes that it is possible to undertake a sociology of ruling-class masculinity which solves the problem of distance and access by using autobiographies and biographies of very rich men and those around them and which tackles the problem of truthfulness by developing a collective portrait of them through saturation.