Alcohol use and generational masculinity: An interdisciplinary approach

Bidragets oversatte titel: Alkoholforbrug og generationel maskulinitet: En interdisciplinær tilgang

Jakob Emiliussen, Alastair Morrison

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Introduction: Alcohol ranks as a major risk factor for health-related harm and mortality.
Older males who encounter alcohol problems late in life are an under-studied part of the
affected population. This article seeks to broaden our understanding of this group by combining
empirical data with humanistic cultural analysis. Specifically, it seeks to show how the
desire to cope alone can be linked to generationally specific constructions of hegemonic
masculinity. Method: Clinical empirical methods are fused here with those of literary analysis.
The subjects which the clinical researcher chooses for scrutiny are different from those most
natural to literary study, yet the interpretive approaches of qualitative phenomenological investigation
and literary close reading are in fact quite similar, and we argue that new knowledge can be
generated by evaluating cultural texts alongside the testimony of phenomenological research
subjects. Findings and discussion: Our findings illustrate a thematic connection between subject
testimony and literary texts from the relevant historical period. In the sources we compared – a
qualitative study conducted in Denmark and a British novel, Kingsley Amis’s 1954 Lucky Jim – we
found a strong link between the values of masculinity and the values of independence. Older men’s
resistance of institutional treatment for alcohol problems has motivations which go beyond the
desire not to rely on outside aid, a desire which may apply to any illness. As Lucky Jim helps us show,
alcohol use functions for men of a certain generation as a symbol of rebellion against institutions,
and having institutions play a dominant role in their alcohol cessation may create resistance in
these men.
Bidragets oversatte titelAlkoholforbrug og generationel maskulinitet: En interdisciplinær tilgang
TidsskriftNordisk Alkohol- & Narkotikatidskrift
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)314-329
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • alcohol
  • older adults
  • alcohol use disorder