What is positive masculinity?

What are the conditions that can help it to flourish?

In year two of Imagine a Man No Knives, Better Lives aimed at providing more depth to our understanding, with a particular emphasis on what exactly does ‘positive masculinity’ mean to individuals. The results of the research from the first year of Imagine a Man provided us with a broad breadth of understanding of what it was like to be a boy or a young man living in Scotland. This was a useful snapshot but didn’t give us the full picture.

Young people in Glasgow, Dundee and Shetland explored positive masculinity.

Three youth groups based in Dundee, Glasgow and Shetland were supported to conduct research on what positive masculinity means in their communities. A youth work approach was taken to support the youth groups including the principles of youth work: 

  • Young people choose to participate
  • It must build from where young people are – in their own space, based on their terms
  • Young people and youth workers are partners in a learning process

The youth workers and practitioners from each group were trained in youth-led research to support young researchers in their communities. The training included how to write research questions, data collection methods, analysis, dissemination and ethical considerations. As this was a youth-led research approach the young people had complete flexibility about how to conduct their research and share their findings. They were provided with some guidance research questions which they could adapt to their interests. These included: 

  • What is positive masculinity?
  • What are the opportunities and barriers for young people to develop positive masculinity?
  • What conditions are needed for young people to develop positive masculinity (place/space/people)?

The results of the three action research pilot areas were collated into a practitioner’s toolkit. View all Imagine A  Man practitioner resources.

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