Skip to main content


An Introduction to Masculinities

Jack S. Kahn

ISBN: 978-1-405-18179-2 March 2009 Wiley-Blackwell 432 Pages


In the last thirty years, there has been a tremendous growth in the academic inquiry to understand men in their experiences as men. This growth is largely due to growing awareness of the problems that people face in trying to understand what it means to be masculine. This text introduces students to the research, theories, and basic issues in the field of Men and Masculinities, highlighting debates about the definition, origin, and the crisis in masculinity. The author provides a framework for studying the field of masculinities incorporating feminist, social constructionist, and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Written in an accessible style, An Introduction to Masculinities provides personal anecdotes and contemporary examples to make the theoretical concepts relevant to students’ lives. The text also introduces students to leading contributors and experts whose work have informed the field. The author gives the reader a context and structure by which they can critically understand and evaluate information about men and masculinities.

An Instructor's Manual is available at

Click here for more discussion and debate on the author's website:

[Wiley disclaims all responsibility and liability for the content of any third-party websites that can be linked to from this website. Users assume sole responsibility for accessing third-party websites and the use of any content appearing on such websites.  Any views expressed in such websites are the views of the authors of the content appearing on those websites and not the views of Wiley or its affiliates, nor do they in any way represent an endorsement by Wiley or its affiliates.] 

Related Resources


View Instructor Companion Site

Contact your Rep for all inquiries

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

1 Overview 1

2 Social Context and Masculinities 21

3 Difficulties of Definitions and Masculinity as a Social Construct 47

4 Psychological and Interactive Models of Masculinity 73

5 Origins and Locations of Masculinities: Social Models 95

6 Origins and Locations of Masculinities: Psychological Models 117

7 Origins and Locations of Masculinities: Interactive and Social Constructionist Models 141

8 Men in Crisis 165

9 The Crisis in Masculinity: Essentialist Perspective 193

10 The Crisis in Masculinity: Psychosocial Perspective 209

11 The Crisis in Masculinity: Social Constructionist Perspective 231

12 Putting it All Together: Next Steps for Masculinities 261

Masculinities Terms 269

References 297

Author Index 367

Subject Index 385

"In sum, I found this text to be a highly valuable, nuanced, and comprehensive addition to the men's studies literature, taking its place alongside the previous works of Doyle (3994) and Kilmartin (2007), as well as the narrower psychological analysis of masculinity by Levant and Pollack (1995). I highly recommend it for all readers, particularly those seeking a work embedded with feminist and social constructionist perspectives." (Psychology of Women Quarterly, August 2010)

"This book has many strengths and it fulfils its aim of being a useful introductory text." (Notre Dame European Journal of Women's Studies, 2010)

"The book is definitely a very open discussion and presentation of the field, urging the reader to question all aspects of research. For that reason alone I found it a very useful introduction to research into any discipline - I don't think this book should stop at being recommended to students wishing to explore the theme of masculinities, it would form a good basis into any social sciences research." (Psych-Talk, September 2010)

"Jack Kahn's introduction to Masculinities is an extraordinary work of scholarship, both because it is uncommon and exceeds the ordinary.  . . I found this text to be highly valuable, nuanced and comprehensive addition to the men's studies l literature".  (Psychology of Women Quarterly, Autumn 2010)

"This would be an excellent primer for people interested in learning more about masculinities, as it does a very good job of pointing the reader to useful further resources." (Sexual and Relationship Therapy, April 2010)

"Our much-needed and long overdue textbook has arrived. ... This book is more than an introduction to the field; it is a warm invitation to anyone wishing to explore it." (Sex Roles, January 2010)

"[A] timely and a welcome addition for those undergraduate courses that aim to begin a discussion about masculinities. ... An excellent option for introductory courses within women's studies, men's studies, psychology, sociology, humanities, and special topics courses. It is thus a welcome tool to those of us who are dedicated to nurturing this fledgling field." (PsycCRITIQUES, January 2010)

"Kahn engagingly introduces biological, psychological and constructionist approaches to different understandings of masculinity, juxtaposing the different perspectives in ways that promote critical thinking." (Psychologist, December 2009)


  • Provides historical and contemporary theory and research in masculinities
  • Introduces the reader to various feminist perspectives that help inform the study of masculinities
  • Stresses diversity of men and masculinity through examples from diverse ethnic, racial, sexual orientation, gender-identity/expression perspectives
  • Covers problems that men face today and explores current research findings about proposed solutions to those problems
  • Integrates international research and examples throughout
  • Who's Who in Masculinities Research sections summarize information about some of the current researchers whose ideas helped shape each chapter
  • Making Connections includes research and examples that illustrate howpsychosocial and cultural issues may impact masculinities
  • End-of-chapter review questions and Questions to Ponder help students better understand the main chapter ideas