Men and masculinities: Accounts of health and social capital

Sixsmith, Judith and Boneham, Margaret (2003) Men and masculinities: Accounts of health and social capital. In: Swann, Catherine and Morgan, Antony, (eds.) Social capital for health: Insights from qualitative research. NHS Health Development Agency.


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In recent years, the links between social capital and health have attracted much research effort. This body of research has largely neglected to address the gendered way in which social capital is developed, maintained and accessed. Moreover, existing studies have not fully examined the notion of social capital within a UK context nor ascertained its validity in the lived experience of members of a disadvantaged community. This chapter is based on findings from research funded by the Health Development Agency into the relationship between health and gender in a socially deprived estate in north-west England. These findings underscore the complex ways in which men construct their health experiences and how these are enmeshed in diverse social networks. Men tend not to be involved in health enhancing social networks, being constrained by the playing out of hegemonic masculinity. This is reinforced by a community context in which men are often excluded from the very female spaces within which social capital is manifest. In this chapter, men's stories about health and social capital are examined to show that younger and older men live very different lives in their community. This has an impact on their ability to develop and access health-enhancing social capital. The social policy implications of these research findings are considered alongside the future of social capital as a theoretical framework for research.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of the chapter which appears in 'Social capital for health: Insights from qualitative research' edited by Catherine Swann, Antony Morgan, 2003. NHS Health Development Agency.The origional publication can be found at
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Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:51
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 14:50

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