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‘Having a laugh’: masculinities, health and humour

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WILLIAMS R. Nursing Inquiry 2009; 16: 74 –81

‘Having a laugh’: masculinities, health and humour

There is longstanding interest within anthropology and sociology in the meaning of humour, but little research that examines humour within fathers’ health experiences. This paper specifically analyses fathers’ stories about humour shared with other men, and the links between gender and health, in order to identify the implications for health-care and future research. Findings indicate that humour is an important aspect of fathers’ experiences of social connectedness with other men. Indeed, for African-Caribbean fathers specifically, humour was an important aspect of their relationships with other ethnic minority men. Humour was also used to objectify, humiliate or ridicule others, for example in the form of sexualised or racist humour. However, fathers’ stories were also mediated by masculinities, it that masculinities enabled fathers to avoid disclosure of vulnerability regarding health experiences to others. The links between masculinities and health, the implications for interviewing fathers, and the implications for future research and healthcare practice with fathers are also discussed.

Keywords: fatherhood; health; humour; masculinities

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-03-01

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