An International Psychology of Men: Theoretical Advances, Case Studies, and Clinical Innovations

Article excerpt

AN INTERNATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY OF MEN: THEORETICAL ADVANCES, CASE STUDIES, AND CLINICAL INNOVATIONS, by Chris Blazina and David S. Shen-Miller. New York: Routledge, 2011, 403 pp.

An International Psychology of Men is an edited collection that highlights the research and clinical implications of understanding men and masculinities. The thirteen chapters of the book are organized in three sections: Theoretical Models; Masculinity, Sexuality, Health Behaviors and Body Image; and Clinical Innovations and Programs for Men. Because the majority of the literature on masculinity and males has reflected a US perspective, the editors created a book that enlisted contributors from nine countries- Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, and the United States-to reflect more global diversity.

An International Psychology of Men identifies and highlights how and where masculinity intersects with different cultures to paint a more nuanced and precise picture of both the macro and internalized forces that affect men. Thus, the book provides a kaleidoscope of cultural perspectives on forces from around the globe that describe the factors affect men's choices, practices and behaviors; these perspectives help to expand the worldview that researchers use to explore masculinity. In the introduction of the book, the editors develop and offer a framework for examining the international context of masculinity that considers individual, interpersonal and social levels. They link the literature that explores how gender is enacted when men construct and reconstruct personal accounts of masculinity; how gender and masculinity are enacted in interpersonal, familial and group contexts; and how cultural shifts, historical changes and socio-political developments affect masculinity.

The goal of this book was not to homogenize masculinity or create a singular global perspective but to sample the diverse ways that the psychology of men is understood and approached around the world. Adopting a global perspective and international ways of thinking highlights the critical role culture has in contextualizing knowledge. Because theories generated within any geographic and cultural context have limited generalizability, there is a need to examine the generalizability of masculinity and gender measures and constructs. The contributors highlight how masculinity and femininity are multidimensional constructs, yet they are frequently operationalized and measured as individual factors. It is critical to help researchers and clinicians move beyond their culturally encapsulated theories, models, viewpoints and ethnocentric biases to identify universal truths about men as well as how constructs vary by context and culture.

Much of the book focuses on the intersection of masculinity and historical sociopolitical dynamics within specific countries. …