What is the ‘blueprint’ for being an older man in a morally conservative state? Men’s ageing in Northern Ireland

Gemma Carney*, Paula Devine, Lorna Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Research on older men regularly refers to the dearth of studies on ageing and masculinity. Where there have been studies, researchers have found that ‘masculinities are temporally and geographically defined’ (Devine et al 2017: 389). In this paper we ask how culture and context affect men’s ageing in Northern Ireland. Twenty years on from a successful peace agreement signed in 1998, Northern Ireland retains a level of moral conservatism that is more pronounced than other UK countries. The culture of Northern Ireland suggests that the ‘paterfamilias’ identified in Catholic Southern Ireland is combined with a Protestant ethos of industry and self-reliance. It seems plausible to suggest that this set of conditions is conducive to the maintenance of hegemonic masculinity, defined as ‘men’s practices that perpetuate the dominance of men over women as well as creating a hierarchy of masculinities that privileges men in positions of power and wealth and marginalises others’ (Colesand Vassarotti, 2012: 32). Our aim is to contribute to theoretical development in this area and so we take Thompson and Barnes Langendoerfer’s (2016) “Older Men’s Blueprint for Being a Man” and apply it to the Northern Ireland context. In applying the blueprint, we critically question the extent to which hegemonic masculinity is ageist. We conclude that more empirical investigations of the lived experience of men’s ageing are needed if we are to understand the impact that ideologies of hegemonic masculinity might have on older men’s health, relationships and, ultimately, their experience of longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 06 Jul 2018
Event47th British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference 2018 - University of Manchester , Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 04 Jul 201807 Jul 2018


Conference47th British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleBSG 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • ageing
  • gender
  • masculinity
  • Northern Ireland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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