Affective Health and Masculinities
An Ethnography of (In)vulnerability
Why are behaviors associated with masculinity increasing the risk of illness, injury, and premature death among young men? What makes these men vulnerable to substance misuse, interpersonal violence, and suicide? What does recovery look like? This book draws on more than eight years of recurrent ethnographic fieldwork in urban South Africa to answer these globally urgent questions from a cross-cultural perspective. This book follows three young men over the life course and chronicles their journey from despair to recovery. It helps the reader understand the connection between gender and affective health problems like substance use, depression, domestic violence, and trauma. Moreover, the book shows vividly how masculinities shape physical and psychological health among men in South Africa and beyond.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
This book offers a very new angle from which to engage questions about men and masculinities. It is highly personal. More than that, penetrating, novel, revolutionary but also fatalistic and even depressing. Not a bad thing. In this mature work the author shows, with humbling self-reference, that change amongst men is possible, but that it is never simple and that for those who hope for massive gender change through interventions, only disappointment awaits. Many come to similar conclusions because they think that men can’t change, or because they think that history imposes impossible constraints, or that material inequalities determine social and psychological possibility. Reihling’s work exceeds all of this and it is this that makes it special.
Robert Morrell, Ph.D. (University of Cape Town)
I enjoyed this book immensely. It feels like a very large adventure into territories I don’t know about. I am impressed by the depth and breadth of Dr. Reihling's endeavor. It’s so golden - the three men he chose to follow each have a different path, a different story to tell, but somehow the paths of all three
enlarge our understandings quite beyond what only three stories might do. I am grateful that Dr. Reihling gave so much of his own life to chart and think about and feel into these men. I think he is brave. There are many lessons in tolerance and communication.
David DeBus, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
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No time to read? Listen up! This audioethnography is narrated by Craig Makhosi, a South African voice artist who brings the written script to life and let's the listener dive into the linguistic particularities of South African English as well as some of it's indigenous languages.
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Affective Health and Masculinities
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How Affective Conversions Change Men
This essay is about how religion can help young men overcome substance misuse, violence, and the involvement in street gangs. It is an in-depth analysis of how Pentecostal rituals transform the believer's experience of embodiment and help transform men's identities in urban South Africa. The findings have implications that go far beyond Christianity as a religion. This essay has been published with Duke University Press.
Men's Sexual Health Risk Perception
In my essay of the edited volume Sex, I chronicle what I learned about men and masculinities in heterosexual relationships in South Africa. This is a personal account about my experience as a health researcher. What I found is that the ideal of male invulnerability may strain relationships and put sexual health at risk. The edited volume contains many interesting essays on how culture shapes human sexuality in different ways.