Ageing, masculinity and Parkinson's disease: Embodied perspectives


Gibson G & Kierans C (2017) Ageing, masculinity and Parkinson's disease: Embodied perspectives. Sociology of Health and Illness, 39 (4), pp. 532-546.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) presents as an illness which predominantly affects older men. However older men’s lived experiences of PD, including how they are influenced by age and gender relations has seen little empirical study. Drawing on Watson’s (2000) male body schema, this paper explores PD’s effects on men’s bodies, alongside how men engage with masculinities and ageing in order to make meaning from these experiences. Data is presented from 30 narrative and semi structured interviews with 15 men of various ages who were living with PD. Findings suggest that PD threatens a pragmatic embodiment expressed through men’s everyday occupations; a visceral embodiment located in difficulties with the body’s basic movements and intimate functions and an experiential embodiment concerned with emotions and sensations within and about the body. In addition, each dimension of men’s embodiment also intersected with the ageing process, a process also shaped in turn by broader social and cultural concerns regarding the positions and possibilities of men’s lives as they move through the life course. This paper concludes by discussing the implications of gender and ageing in understanding men’s experiences of PD.

Parkinson’s Disease; Embodiment; Masculinity; Ageing

Sociology of Health and Illness: Volume 39, Issue 4

Publication date31/05/2017
Publication date online31/10/2016
Date accepted by journal27/07/2016