Reproductive Masculinity: An Explanatory Concept to Enhance Understanding of Men and Reproductive Timings
The sociology of human reproduction is a vibrant and growing field, yet the majority of research has historically been undertaken with women. Several scholars have therefore argued for a greater inclusion of men (Culley et al., 2013; Lohan, 2015). Despite a growing interest in men’s experiences in recent years, the majority of this research has been concerned with fatherhood, leaving other aspects overlooked including pre-conception desires and planning (Morison, 2013; Lohan, 2015). In addition, while not uncontested, evidence of men’s age related fertility decline appears to be growing (Johnson et al., 2015; Dodge, 2017). Daniels’ (2006) concept of ‘reproductive masculinity’ offers a potentially useful framework to enhance sociological explorations of reproductive timing. Daniels analysis demonstrates how men are assumed to be: secondary in reproduction; less vulnerable to reproductive harm; virile; and distant from health problems of offspring. This paper presents findings from a doctoral, qualitative study into men and reproductive timings in which 25 interviews were conducted with men who don’t have children but want or expect to have them in the future. The paper utilises the concept of reproductive masculinity as an organising framework, assessing its value in investigating issues of reproductive timing, including men’s views about the ‘right time’ to have children, ‘delayed’ childbearing and ‘older’ fatherhood, and their own intentions and expectations for future family building. It explores how elements of reproductive masculinity feature in men’s accounts, and how this enhances our understanding of how men position themselves, and are positioned, in relation to reproduction.
Citation : Law, C. (2018) Reproductive Masculinity: An Explanatory Concept to Enhance Understanding of Men and Reproductive Timings. Paper presented to the British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Northumbria University, UK, 10-12 April 2018
Research Group : Centre for Reproduction Research
Research Institute : Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)