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  • April 26, 2024 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm


The Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research presents…

On Friday, April 26, from 12-1:30 PM, Dr. Marit Solbjør will present in CQ’s latest online seminar. There will be a 1-hour presentation and moderated discussion, followed by a 30-minute informal chat with the presenter. The Zoom link to join the seminar will be emailed to participants upon registration.

This session will be recorded.

Title: Hegemonic masculinity in focus groups on men’s health

Abstract: Focus groups have become a common part of the data collection repertoire within qualitative health research. Focus groups are group interviews which focus on a specific theme that is discussed by the participants. In the literature, it is suggested that interaction during a focus group is strengthened if each group comprise homogeneity among its participants. The need for homogeneity is based on the idea that it is easier to share information and experiences with people similar to yourself. Age, position within a professional hierarchy, specific patient experiences, and gender, are often used to ensure homogeneity among participants, but also between moderator and participants. But homogeneity could hide variation within groups. Certain experiences or opinions could be validated, while others could be overlooked by other participants in the focus group. In this presentation I look at homogeneity in focus groups on men’s experiences with prostate cancer diagnostics, building on Connell and Messerschmidt’s term hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is about what society characterizes to be a man, it is normative and requires men to position themselves in relation to it. Descriptions of hegemonic masculinity in modern western societies have included denial of vulnerability, emotional and physical control, reluctance to seek help, and the interest in sex. Treatment for prostate cancer can lead to incontinence and impotence, which relate directly to elements of hegemonic masculinity. Becoming aware of health risks, with its bodily and social consequences, can lead to vulnerability. Previous research suggest that prostate cancer not only implies ill health and mortality, but also men’s fear of losing their masculinity. Investigating men’s experiences with prostate cancer diagnostics, I ask how hegemonic masculinity is done in focus groups with men discussing prostate cancer diagnostics. I will also address issues of moderator-participant homogeneity, and researcher positionality.