• Amalie Louise Viborg
  • Lucia Fox
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this thesis is to examine how men experience and deal with mental problems. We wish to investigate what role gender and masculinity have for men with mental diseases and for psychiatric practices. We have done so on the basis of six qualitative interviews with men and four qualitative interviews with psychiatrists. Overall we find that the men in question try to negotiate their identity and masculinities in various aspects of their social lives, as well as in the specific social interaction with us, as interviewers. A symbolic interactionist, narrative method, influences our methodical and theoretical approach, giving us access not only to the narratives meaning, but also to how the narratives are constructed. Goffman, Connell and Laclau & Mouffe constitute the theoretical conceptual framework in the thesis. Firstly, Goffman’s theory on stigma, social interaction, role-play and face-work help us examine how the men navigate through the landscape of their social lives. Secondly, Connell’s theory on multiple masculinities gives us the opportunity to not only investigate the men’s narratives concerning the position of men in a gender order, but also their own masculinities. Lastly, Laclau & Mouffe’s discourse theory allows us to examine the prevailing discourses that can be found in the psychiatric system through the narratives of the psychiatrists. We argue that the men make use of role-play and face-work in their social interactions with others as a means to hide their illnesses and diagnoses. The men argue that taboo and the stigma of mental illnesses, schizophrenia in particular, are the reason for their need to hide their actual social identity. We also argue that the men construct different types of masculinities: a subordinate masculinity as well as a hegemonic masculinity. However, our findings show that the men are subject to the ideals of the hegemonic masculinity, which proves to be problematic for their social identity. Furthermore, two major discourses can be identified through the psychiatrists’ narratives: an illness discourse and an individual-focused discourse respectively. We also find that a gender-neutral approach has taken a hegemonic position in the psychiatric system. Our main findings are that gender and masculinity do play a part for the well being of the six men in this thesis. We argue that men with mental illnesses and problems risk double exposition in both dealing with potential stigma and taboo due to their illness, and due to their gender. They must furthermore deal with their own masculinity understandings as well as outer hegemonic masculinity ideals, which make it difficult to navigate through the social arenas of modern life.
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages99
ID: 240996909