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Men’s constructions of their experiences of breaking up with women: A qualitative study.

Butcher, A. (2009). Men’s constructions of their experiences of breaking up with women: A qualitative study.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This study aimed to explore how men construct the experience of breaking up with women with a view to identifying what discourses and subject positions are made available by these constructions. The study also aimed to identify what implications for the practice of counselling psychology could be drawn from these constructions. A qualitative, social constructionist approach to the research was used; specifically Memory Work was employed to collect written memories of men’s experiences and the data was analysed using Foucauldian discourse analysis. A sample of seven men aged between 25-31 years was recruited through the use of flyers advertising the research and through colleagues of the primary researcher. They formed two separate Memory Work groups to discuss their written accounts of breaking up with women. The group discussions were transcribed and analysed by the primary researcher. Three discursive constructions were identified: breaking up as wrongdoing, as problematic and as work to be done. Discourses associated with masculinity and the subject positions that were offered by these discourses are also highlighted and discussed in relation to possibilities for practice and subjective experience. A conclusion that is drawn from the research is that conventional discourses of masculinity are still mobilised by men in the present day, including patriarchal discourses of responsibility, objectivity and authority. The findings are discussed in relation to existing research on masculinity and implications for counselling psychologists, particularly when working with men in therapy, are identified.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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