Grandfatherhood: shifting masculinities in later life

Mann, Robin, Tarrant, Anna and Leeson, George (2016) Grandfatherhood: shifting masculinities in later life. Sociology, 50 (3). pp. 594-610. ISSN 0038-0385

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Drawing on qualitative interview data, this article examines how grandfatherhood relates to the assertion and transformation of masculinities in later life. Recent attention to ageing and masculinities has identified how older men are challenged to successfully present themselves as maintaining active and youthful lives through complicity, if not adherence, to hegemonic masculinity. We consider men’s engagement with grandfatherhood as a means for so doing, illustrating how men make sense of the role through continuity with masculinity. While grandfathers describe intimate and affectionate relationships with their grandchildren, their accounts of their involvement reflect desires to re-affirm their previous connections to masculinity. Attention to the way individualised masculinities are re-negotiated in later life can help to explain how men are making sense of the new family opportunities that arise from being a grandparent. Such an analysis of grandfatherhood, we argue, also offers significant critique of hegemonic masculinity and its distinction to non-hegemonic masculinities intersected by old age.

Keywords:ageing, emotional intimacy, grandfathers, hegemonic masculinity, masculinities, JCNotOpen
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:26190
Deposited On:08 Feb 2017 16:15

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