In search of intimacy: Homosociality, masculinity and the body
The diverse and contested nature of the contemporary skinhead scene makes it impossible to identify a single common body regime, or set of gender norms, characteristic of the skinhead (sub)culture. This chapter explores one example of how these fraternal bonds and spaces are constituted. It pays particular attention to practices of the body (individual and collective) within the group and how these practices were enacted to confirm its skinhead identity while shaping a particular regime of closeness and intimacy. It considers, firstly, the group as a particular form of fraternity based on homosocial bonds of friendship, closeness and (dis)trust. Secondly, the aesthetics and the ethics of intimacy within the group are discussed. In particular practices of displaying the – naked and bare – body of the skinhead are considered as well as tests of, and conflicts over, the meaning of the intimacies that these practices forge. Finally, the chapter explores these practices in the context of the wider and competing masculinities through which they are enacted.