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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2020

7 Competency as an Embodied Social Practice: Clothing, Presentation of Self and Corporate Masculinity in South Korea

From the book Men, Masculinities and the Modern Career

  • Joanna Elfving-Hwang


Drawing on in-depth interviews with 15 male participants aged 33 to 55 in the Seoul metropolitan area, this chapter discusses the role grooming and presentation of self in how men both perform competence and attempt to negotiate organizational power in the workplace. Focusing on the social aspects of grooming, clothing and projecting ‘ideal’ physical presence, this chapter examines the participants’ reflections on dress code and performing heterosexual masculinity in the workplace as a site for producing ideal bodies for the homosocial gaze in the workplace. Through framing the presentation of self as a habitus for specific forms of disciplinary practices of the body (Bourdieu 1977), this chapter considers how ideal masculinity in the workplace is produced, maintained and self-policed through internalised ideological and embodied notions of power and competency at work.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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