"A Time to be Tough, a Time to be Tender:" Exploring the Paradigms and Effects of Masculinities in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland
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This thesis examines the paradigms of masculinities during and after Northern Ireland’s conflict to understand how societal transition from intrastate conflict impacts males’ identities and mental health. Focusing on fieldwork conducted predominately in Derry/Londonderry and applying masculinity theories, this thesis explores the experiences of males aged 29 to 40 who grew up during the 1990s’ peace process. Social and mental health professionals and community and youth workers have expressed concern for the mental health and well-being of this population of men, as well as young men born after the peace process. With this concern in mind, this thesis argues that the continuous presence of contested images of masculinity that existed prior to the conflict and that emerged during the conflict, along with the cultural practice of silence, has resulted in an ambiguous understanding of masculinity in the post-conflict era, and has had a negative impact on males’ mental health.