The Vulnerability of the Strong Sex - Treatment, Care and Masculinity (completed)

Is health education and treatment gendered? Do implicit conceptions of gender make it easy or hard for men to cope in a situation of serious illness? How do they handle their masculinity and what is the reaction of their social milieu - health personnel, family and friends, and colleagues? Do the latter rely upon the strong sex

About the project

The aim of this project is to shed light on the role of masculinity in health education, treatment and care, using men with cancer as case material. We will shed light on implicit understandings of masculinity, and its ethnic, class and generational foundations, and how these understandings are being "done" in education, in the design and practice of hospital treatments, and among family, friends and work. We will uncover how the links between the various institutions and groups can give an understanding of how these pressure factors or forces are related, and where changes designed to promote good health can most fruitfully be initiated. It is basic research in its aim at developing and making use of an approach - Institutional Ethnography - which, in spite of its international estimation, is as yet little known or used in Scandinavia. It is applied research in its aim to produce knowledge about an actual problem in such a way as to contribute to promoting health and preventive action


The project consists of two parts. The first part focuses on the institutions of education and treatment and the second part focuses on the role of family, friends and work. For both parts a variety of interdisciplinary and qualitative approaches will be used, including fieldwork, interviews and analyses of texts and documents. Specific methods and techniques developed in previous research projects, such as thematic diaries, experience narratives,

Memory work will be further developed in this project, as will concepts such as "embodied habits", "bodily competence" and "bodily readiness" - especially in relation to behavioural change. The epistemological approach of the project will be as mentioned above, Institutional Ethnography, which will guide how the different institutions and elements of both parts of the project are connected. Mapping the links from micro to macro levels, and vice versa, through Institutional Ethnography, connects national, regional and local levels to make generalizable knowledge possible. As such the project is twofold; basic research, to develop and make use of Institutional Ethnography, and applied research to produce knowledge about an actual problem in order to contribute to promoting health and preventive action.


Marianne Inez Lien, Venke F. Johansen og Thomas Westergren, all at Agder University.


Agder University.

Published Apr. 1, 2014 2:25 PM - Last modified June 25, 2014 10:48 AM