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Warriors in suits: A Bourdieusian perspective on the construction and practice of military masculinity of Korean men

Within masculinity scholarship, there is a gap about how masculinity carries over from a broad social context to an organizational context. This article explores the construction and capitalization of masculinity through a series of experiences in social fields such as the military and college, and the transfer of militaristic masculinity into the workplace. Drawing on grounded theory methods, we conducted in‐depth interviews with 20 Korean men who completed their mandatory two‐year military service and subsequently joined large corporations in Korea. We uncovered a four‐phase model that depicts how Korean men's masculinity is constructed during military service and transferred to their organizational positions characterizing them as warriors in suits. Informed by a Bourdieusian perspective, this study shows how masculinities are constructed, reinforced and legitimatized by the structural influences of society, and how masculinity becomes the desired image of men at work, which perpetuates the gender and power gaps among organizational members.

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