Masculinities and Vulnerability The Solitary Discourses and Practices of African-Caribbean and White Working-Class Fathers

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Colleges, School and Institutes


There is a developing body of research that investigates the links between masculinities and men's health experiences in the United Kingdom, but the links between social connectedness and the health experiences of men have been a neglected focus for research. Findings were drawn from a parent study that examined fathers' experiences of health and social connectedness, but findings presented in this article were unforeseen. Specifically, findings presented here indicate that African-Caribbean and white working-class fathers, in the United Kingdom, were involved in solitary ways of feeling, thinking, and acting to deal with the vulnerability associated with health concerns, the psychological experience of stress, and difficulties in personal relationships. Those solitary experiences were associated, within men's stories, with conservative and complicit forms of masculinity. Challenges and qualifications to men's solitary and conservative discourses and practices are also identified within men's stories. These challenges were linked to crisis situations, the uncertainty associated with gender, social class and racism, and the experience of fathering, in particular. The significance of gender, ethnicity, and social class for policy, practice, and future research regarding working-class fathers' experiences of vulnerability is identified.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-461
Number of pages21
JournalMen and Masculinities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • fatherhood, vulnerability, Masculinities, fathering