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In Pursuit of Masculinity

On Aging Bodies, Migration and Youthful Masculinities

Usman Mahar


In this article, I describe the roles played by society and individual life-history on the aging process of a South Asian artist in Europe. Using participant observation and the life-history method, I look at my informant's emotional practices of aging. The resultant case study delineates his emotional pursuits and his views on what it means to be a man in his early sixties. I start by reviewing anthropological critiques of many of the current taken-for-granted gendered and biomedical conceptions of the aging body. Thereafter, I try to add to the debate surrounding these conceptions by looking into the affective economy of aging that my informant is embedded in. The article is as such an effort to understand the role that affect and emotional practices play in youthful ideals and self-conceptualizations of aging and masculinity.