Redefining masculinity–Men’s repair work in the aftermath of prostate cancer treatment

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Treatments for prostate cancer have many potential side effects such as a loss of erection, weaker orgasms, and incontinence. These are all bodily changes that may challenge dominant masculine ideals. In this article, I use Persson's repair work to describe how men tackle these side effects, and I describe the trouble their repair work elicits in terms of masculinity. I analyse interviews with eleven Swedish men, all treated for prostate cancer, and show that such work is done in three ways. Bodily repair work elicits the work men do to restore bodily functions, often through medical technologies. Relational repair work describes how relations with (potential) others shape men’s bodily and sexual concerns, and the ways relations redefine such concerns. Age marking as repair emphasises how age is used in the redefinitions of norms about masculinities and aging bodies, both in relation to oneself and others. The analysis highlights how men’s repair work is multifaceted, and is performed against the backdrop of dominant discourses on masculinity, medicine and old age. The analysis of such repair work is valuable to research on how masculinity is constructed in the light of treatment side effects and older age.




Brüggemann, J. (2021). Redefining masculinity–Men’s repair work in the aftermath of prostate cancer treatment. Health Sociology Review, 30(2), 143–156.

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