Theorising masculinities and men's health: A brief history with a view to practice

Creighton, Genevieve; Oliffe, John L.
December 2010
Health Sociology Review;Dec2010, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p409
Academic Journal
Sex comparisons reveal men as more likely than women to die earlier and experience debilitating injury. Historically, this trend has been positioned as somewhat inevitable, an outcome of men's 'natural' biologically charged tendencies for risk-taking and reluctance around help-seeking. More recently, gender research has emerged to describe cultural norms about masculinity and explore their relationships to men's health and illness practices. Empirically, masculinities and men's health research has revealed diverse practices that suggest some men's risky health behaviours are amenable to change. This article provides a brief review of how masculinity has been understood in men's health research before making recommendations for where we might next go in theorising social constructions of masculinities. Specifically, a vignette drawn from a study examining young men's responses to the death of a peer is used to illustrate how the communities of practice framework can be applied, and might conceptually advance future masculinities and men's health research.


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