City Research Online

How do men who meditate construct their gender identity in talk?

Kerr, J. (2023). How do men who meditate construct their gender identity in talk?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Objectives: Research in masculinity has suggested adhering to traditional masculine norms has potential implications for the health outcomes for men, their engagement with emotions, help seeking behaviours and suicide. Meditation has been shown to be a promising potential tool for men to develop skills to self-regulate. However, there has been a dearth of empirical work examining how male meditators construct their gender identity. The aim of the study was to explore the discourses that male meditators drawn on when talking about their gender identity.

Design: The study was primarily interested in exploring and understanding the construction of gender identity by male meditators. Therefore, a Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA) methodology was used to locate relevant discourses and trace the patterns and consequences of their usage in male meditators’ descriptions of gender identity.

Methods: Purposeful snowball sampling was used to recruit eight male meditators, between the ages of 25 to 72. The participants took part in 60-to-90-minute semistructured interviews that were analysed using FDA.

Results: Four overarching discourses were identified, which made available different subject positions to the men. The four discourses were: a traditional masculinity discourse, a feminist/queer discourse, a personality trait discourse, and a biological discourse. A meditation discourse, in conjunction with other dominant discourses allowed the men to resist expectations of traditional masculinity in respect to engagement with emotions.

Conclusions: The study highlighted the complicated and multiple ways masculinity is constructed by 8 male meditators. The study offers new developments in masculinity research. The findings from this study are discussed in relation to implications and applications for the counselling psychology and therapeutic fields.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Kerr Thesis 2023 redacted PDF-A.pdf]
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