Alternative Title

Hard country music, the white working class, and the experience of loss in the American neoliberal context

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Neoliberalism, Neoliberal, Working-class white, White, Whiteness, Masculinity, Country music, Ronald Fairbairn, Object relations


This paper utilises the object relations theories of Ronald Fairbairn to conceptualise the narratives of Hard Country music, and understand how they relate to the shifting experiences of the male, white working-class in America in the latter half of the twentieth century. This paper understands the privileges that masculinity and whiteness have afforded the male, white working-class in the post-war period, and attempts to locate the relative loss felt by this population in the subsequent eras of de-industrialisation, neoliberalisation, second-wave feminism and the civil rights movement. Undertaking a thematic analysis of Hard Country music, an art form that purports to provide a narrative to the white, working-class experience, this study works to contextualise a population’s felt sense of loss from an object relations perspective.


©2018 Nicholas Johnston. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




ii, 48 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-43)