A community psychology of men and masculinity: historical and conceptual review

Am J Community Psychol. 2010 Mar;45(1-2):73-86. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9288-y.


This paper introduces the special section by presenting a historical and conceptual review of theory and research on the psychology of men and masculinity and then introducing the section's papers. Men have power because of their gender, but differ in access to power based on other individual characteristics such as social class, income, education, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical strength. Men typically have been studied as generic rather than gendered beings in psychology. In contrast, a gendered analysis of men highlights the ways in which men's experience, masculinity, and behavior contribute to health and social problems and to resources commonly addressed by community psychologists. Our gendered analysis suggests ways of working with men in group, organizational, and community settings to create positive individual and social change. Crucial to this analysis is the paradox that enacting masculinity both privileges and damages men. A second paradox stems from men having power as a group over women while individual men feel powerless or victimized by women as a group. The papers in this volume illustrate key themes of our historical and conceptual review through studies of adolescent and adult men as fathers, patients, partner abusers, support group participants and community members, and through examination of the impact of their gendered identities and behavior on health, well being, and justice.

Publication types

  • Introductory Journal Article

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masculinity*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychology, Social*
  • Review Literature as Topic