SOCIOLOGY 5115FA – Masculinities and Men’s Health

Fall 2011





Dr. P. Wakewich

Tuesdays: 2:30-5:30 p.m. ATAC 2021


Office Hours: (RB 2021)

Mon./Wed. 11:30-12:30 or by appointment

(Ph. 343-8353; email:


Course Description


In the past decade there has been a virtual explosion of research and writing in the field of men’s health. A central theme in this work has been the relationship between the social constructions of masculinity and men’s health beliefs, practices and behaviours. More recent work from the social sciences has shifted the paradigm from the “men behaving badly” model of men’s health to a critical men’s health studies approach with an emphasis on the intersections of gender, power and the broader social and political contexts in which men negotiate their health in everyday life. Drawing on a range of classical and contemporary readings from the social sciences and health studies we will explore the field of critical men’s studies as it is currently being developed here in Canada and around the globe.




This course  is being offered through media streaming. On campus students are expected to attend in person and off campus students should be online for the duration of the class time. It is an interactive seminar class so it is important to do assigned readings prior to class. Off campus students should consult the CEDL assistance page ( for information on computer requirements for the course. They will need to download Quick Time and Java (links are provided by CEDL) so that they can view the live video stream and participate actively in the course discussion. Course materials, assignment guidelines, announcements, optional links and readings will be posted on WebCT so please check the site regularly. If you have additional materials or announcements that you think will be of interest to the group please email them to me to be posted on the course website.



The readings are primarily e-journal articles which can be downloaded from the LU library website. Links for additional reports and media articles of interest will be posted on the Web CT as assigned. Any non-electronic additional readings will be available for photocopy on my office door (RB2021) for on campus students and mailed to off site students.


Please ensure that you have done all of the weekly readings and assigned prep prior to class to facilitate your active participation and our collective learning in the seminar


Evaluation (detailed evaluation guidelines will be posted on the course website and reviewed together in the 2nd week of class)


Weekly participation (active discussion of course material,

presentation of article summaries when assigned)                                                            25%

Critical response paper (6 pages, any two journal articles on men’s health,

due October 18)                                                                                                                 25%                    

Research paper (12 pages, due November 22)                                                                40%

Final reflection paper  (4 pages, due December 11)                                                       10%                                                                                       


Weekly Reading Schedule (Fall Term)


 Sept. 13 – Introductions, Organization and Overview; Why Study Men’s Health?


Sept. 20 – Mapping the Terrain I – Theorizing Masculinities and the Genesis of Critical Men’s Health Studies

Readings:  Hearn, Jeff (2004)  “From Hegemonic Masculinity to the Hegemony of Men,” Feminist Theory 5(1):49-72; Courtenay, Will H. (2000) “Constructions of Masculinity and their Influence on Men’s Well-Being: A Theory of Gender and Health,” Social Science & Medicine (SSM) 50:1385-1401; Lohan, Maria (2007) “How Might we Understand Men’s Health Better? Integrating Explanations from Critical Studies on Men and Inequalities in Health,” SSM 65:493-504.

Optional  Reading: Annandale, Ellen and Elianne Riska (2009) “New Connections: Towards a Gender-Inclusive Approach to Women’s and Men’s Health,” Current Sociology 57(2):123-133;


Sept. 27 – Public Discourses on Masculinity and Men’s Health

Readings: Gough, Brendan, (2007) “’Real Men Don’t Diet: An Analysis of Contemporary Newspaper Representations of Men, Food and Health,” SSM 64:326-337; Stibbe, Arran (2004) “Health and the Social Construction of Masculinity in Men’s Health Magazine,” Men and Masculinities 7(1):31-51; and Clarke, Juanne and Julie Robinson (1999) “Testicular Cancer: Medicine and Machismo in the Media (1980-94),” Health 3(3):263-282.


Oct. 4 – Masculinity, Embodiment and Health in Everyday Life

Readings: Saltonstall, Robin (1993) “Healthy Bodies, Social Bodies: Men’s and Women’s Concepts and Practices in Everyday Life,” SSM 36(1):7-14; Robertson, Steve, “’Not Living Life in Too Much of an Excess’: Lay Men’s Understanding Health and Well-Being,” Health 10(2):175-189; and Wandel, Margareta and Gun Roos, (2006) “Age Perceptions and Physical Activity Among Middle-Aged Men in Three Occupational Groups,” SSM 62:3024-3034.


Oct. 11 – Rural and Working-Class Masculinities and Health

Readings: Torkington, A.M., S. Larkins and T. Sen Gupta (2011) “The Psychosocial Impacts of Fly-In, Fly-Out, Drive-In, Drive-Out Mining on Mining Employees,” Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19 :135-141; Bye, Linda M. (2009) “’How to be a Rural Man’: Young Men’s Performances and Negotiations of Rural Masculinities,” Journal of Rural Studies 25:278-288; and Dolan, Alan (2007) “’That’s Just the Cesspool Where they Dump all the Trash’: Exploring Working Class Men’s Perceptions and Experences of Social Capital and Health.” Health 11(4):475-495.

Optional Reading: Panelli, R. et al. (2009) “De-Centring White Ruralities: Ethnic Diversity, Racialisation and Indigenous Countrysides,”  Journal of Rural Studies 25:355-364.


Oct. 18 Aboriginal Men’s Health (selected readings to be assigned for presentation)

(Critical response paper due in class)

Bulman, Jack and Rick Hayes (2011) “Mibbinbah and spirit healing: fostering safe, friendly spaces for indigenous males in Australia,” International Journal of Men's Health 10(1):6-  ; McCoy, Brian F. (2006) “’If we come together our health will be happy’: Aboriginal men seeking ways to better health,” Australian Aboriginal Studies 2:75-;and Inuit Men’s Health Series, “Inuit Men Talking About Health,”  “How Can You Improve Your Emotional Health,” and excerpts from [links available on class Web CT and will be viewed in class]


Oct. 25 – Men’s Experiences of Help Seeking

Readings: Noone, Jack H. and Christine Stephens (2008) “Men, masculine identities, and health care utilisation,” Sociology of Health & Illness 30(5):711–725; O’Brien, Rosaleen, Kate Hunt and Graham Hart (2005) “’It’s Caveman Stuff, but that is to a Certain Extent How Guys Operate’: Men’s Accounts of Masculinity and Help Seeking,” SSM 61:503-516; and Cushman, Mitchell A., JoAnne L. Phillips, and Richard J. Wassersug (2010) “The language of emasculation: implications for cancer patients,” International Journal of Men's Health. 9(1):3-.


Nov.1  Masculinity and Reproduction in the Age of Viagra

Readings: Dudgeon, Matthew R. and Marcia C. Inhorn (2009) “Gender, Masculinity, and Reproduction: Anthropological Perspectives,” in M. Inhorn et al., Reconceiving the Second Sex. Men, Masculinity and Reproduction. New York:Berghahan Books,  pp. 72-102; Oaks, Laury, “Manhood and Meaning in the Marketing of the ‘Male Pill’ (2009) in Inhorn et al. Reconceiving the Second Sex pp.139-159. [reserve readings available from Instructor]

Bring a current advertisement related to masculinity and fertility for discussion in class


Nov. 8 – Masculinities and the Negotiation of Fatherhood

Readings: Kirkman, Maggie, Doreen A. Rosenthal and S. Shirley Feldman (2010) “Freeing Up the Subject: Tension Between the Traditional Masculinity and Involved Fatherhood Through Communication About Sexuality with Adolescents,” Culture, Health and Sexuality 3(4):391-411; Draper, Jan (2003) “Blurring, Moving and Broken Boundaries: Men’s Encounters with the Pregnant Body,” Sociology of Health & Illness 25(7):743-767; and Wu, Chia-Ling (2011) “Managing Multiple Masculinities in Donor Insemination: Doctors Configuring Infertile Men and Sperm Donors in Taiwan,”  Sociology of Health & Illness 33(1):96-113.


Nov. 15  Sexualities and Health; Guest Lecture – Dr. Gerald Walton, Faculty of Education

Readings: Namaste, Viviene, “Genderbashing. Sexuality, Gender and the Regulation of Public Space,” in The Transgender Studies Reader [reserve reading available from Instructor]: Rainbow Health Ontario, “Because LGBT Health Matters,”; “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health, CDC


Nov. 22 Global Perspectives on Masculinities and Men’s Health

Readings: Courtenay, Will (2002) “A Global Perspective on Men’s Health: An Editorial,” International Journal of Men’s Health 1(1):1-8; and Wilkins, David and Erick Savoye (2009) Men’s Health Around the World. A Review of Policy and Progress Across 11 Countries [pdf posted on Web CT]

(Research Paper due in class)


Nov. 29 – Open Topic


Dec. 4 – Review, course critique and final assignment discussion