Rednecks, Rig Pigs, and Cowboys: Rural Masculinity in Albertan Country Music

Brenna Ward


In this essay I argue that Albertan country music and its imagery
works to perpetuate and reinforce the category of rural masculinity.
My argument is premised first of all on my exploration of the unique
intersections that have established the rural way of life in Alberta
as inherently masculine, and has gendered the spaces within its
imagined boundaries as inherently masculine. I establish this by
exploring the narration of Alberta’s frontier and cowboy mythology in
relation to the emergent gendered implications for industry and rural
life. Using Judith Butler’s gender theory of performativity, I argue
that rural masculinity exists as a category that is constituted by the
extended corporeal performances of Albertans. I engage with a
discussion of semiotics to sustain my argument that country music and
its imagery uphold the category of rural masculinity as well as a form
of working class art. I use Albertan country music artist Corb Lund as
a case study to demonstrate the mechanics of my argument.


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