Home > Making the invisible visible: masculinities and men’s illicit recreational drug use.

Darcy, Clay (2018) Making the invisible visible: masculinities and men’s illicit recreational drug use. Irish Journal of Sociology, 26, (1), pp. 5-24.

This paper highlights a significant gender disparity within Ireland’s illicit drug landscape, which is predominantly composed of men. Irish men’s historical gender invisibility contributed to their predominance as drug users being overlooked. Thus, this paper focuses a masculinities lens on Irish men’s recreational use of illicit drugs, making their drug taking visible as a gendered activity. 

The study utilised a qualitative methodology, with masculinities theory forming the primary theoretical and analytical lens. Nine focus groups were conducted with Irish men exploring their views on illicit drugs. Twenty in-depth interviews were completed with men who identified as illicit recreational drug users, exploring their drug-taking histories and experiences. 

Findings demonstrate how the use of illicit drugs can symbolically communicate messages about the drug taker. The study reveals masculinities are an interpretative lens employed by men when trying to understand their own or other men’s drug taking. It is argued that men’s drug taking and masculinities intersect. In homosocial contexts, men’s recreational use of illicit drugs can contribute to them demonstrating masculinities to other drug-taking men; however, outside of these contexts, the same behaviours can be viewed by non-drug takers as emasculating

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Page Range
pp. 5-24
Related (external) link

Click here to request a copy of this literature

Repository Staff Only: item control page