Reflexivity Denied? The Emotional and Health-Seeking Resources of Men Facing Disadvantage.

Paul Simpson, Michael Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Based on focus group discussions of self-generated photographs of individuals aged 19–67 resident in urban Northwest England, this article examines the health narratives of men facing disadvantage because of economic hardship and/or mental health difficulty (mhd). In contrast to stereotypes of men as uncomfortable with emotions linked to vulnerability, we explore how such men can develop within self-help groups the kind of emotional resources that encourage health-seeking behaviours. Our argument contrasts with theories that risk denying/diminishing working-class men's emotional reflexivity or that frame reflexivity (thought on feelings and behaviour to effect life changes) as individualised and more available to middle-class (younger) men. We argue that participant accounts indicate development of more collective emotional and epistemic resources from a position of subordinated masculinity. This argument challenges stereotypes of working-class men as lacking in knowledge/skill in health and self-care. Collective reflexivity over health/wellbeing was particularly visible in three main accounts that emerged during focus groups: involvement in self-help ‘communities of practice’, use of local aesthetic spaces and negotiation with/qualified challenge to healthy eating discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-916
Number of pages17
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number5
Early online date20 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Disadvantaged men
  • Emotions
  • health
  • Mental Health
  • Reflexivity
  • emotions
  • mental health
  • reflexivity
  • disadvantaged men


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