Nerd/Geek Masculinity: Technocracy, Rationality, and Gender in Nerd Culture's Countermasculine Hegemony
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Nerd and geek culture have become subjects of increasing public concern in recent years, with growing visibility and power for technical professions and increasing relevance of video games, science fiction, and fantasy in popular culture. As a subculture, nerd/geek culture tends to be described in terms of the experiences of men and boys who are unpopular because of their niche interests or lack of social skills. This dissertation proposes the concept of nerd/geek masculinity to understand discourses of hegemonic masculinity in nerd/geek culture. Examining three case studies, the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, the neoreactionary political ideology, and the #GamerGate controversy, the dissertation suggests that nerd/geek masculinity responds to a perceived emasculation of men who identify as nerds or geeks by constructing the interests, skills, and behaviors of nerd/geek culture as inherently male traits. In this way, nerd/geek masculinity turns the very traits nerds and geeks are often mocked for into evidence of manhood – as the cost of excluding women and queer people from nerd and geek culture.
Lockhart, Eleanor Amaranth (2015). Nerd/Geek Masculinity: Technocracy, Rationality, and Gender in Nerd Culture's Countermasculine Hegemony. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from