Date of Award

12-6-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles A. Gallagher - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Kirk W. Elifson

Third Advisor

Dr. Mindy Stombler

Abstract

Sociologists have only recently paid attention to how men experience physical disability. However, current research continues to ignore how different racial groups experience it. The goal of this study was to examine how black and white men experience life with a physical disability. Using qualitative research techniques involving in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 10 black and 10 white men, I focus on how meanings of disability and masculinity shift after a traumatic injury. Using symbolic interactionism and social construction as theoretical frameworks, I examine how these men formed and modified meanings for disability and masculinity through social interactions. I also analyze the strategies they use to manage a stigmatized identity. Finally, I explore how they negotiate a masculine identity within larger social contexts. My findings suggest that black and white men’s constructions of masculinity and disability are more similar than different on all levels. Furthermore, these men used three strategies to negotiate their new social identities: reinforcing idealized masculinity, modified masculinity, and lost masculinity.

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