Testing the limits of the ‘hard man’ in film: masculinity and male health behaviour in Scotland’s public health films 1934-2000

Chandler, Alex Steven (2021) Testing the limits of the ‘hard man’ in film: masculinity and male health behaviour in Scotland’s public health films 1934-2000. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Often adapted from long standing hegemonies of masculine bravery and strength, and visible in a wide range of Scottish popular art, literature, and film, not to mention certain Hollywood adaptations, the Scottish hard-man character has infiltrated many aspects of the country’s history and culture1. Most recently, a particular form of this character – a stubborn, strong-willed version, wary of official health intervention and reckless with his own health behaviours – has emerged within both popular and academic attempts to explain some of Scotland’s public health problems and their often-disproportionate effects on Scottish men2. But who is the Scottish hard man, what does he look like, what does he say, how does he behave and what is his relationship to the country’s public health problems?

In order to answer some of these questions, this thesis turns to the texts in which the visual images of the hard-man are most closely linked to his health behaviours – public health film. Three years of archive research has uncovered a wealth of film and accompanying public health materials that variously attempt to challenge or control men’s public health behaviours. From state sponsored public health films to locally organised campaigns, these texts are filled with visual representations of Scottish masculinity as well as the bodies, the medicines, the tools, the doctors, the patients and the spaces of 20th century public health language. Tracing the steps of the Sottish hard-man character through these texts, I aim to discover how this figure has been constructed and utilised in public health film and what this can tell us about the cultural connections between gender, the media and health in the 20th century and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Public health, public health film, Scottish masculinities, toxic masculinity, hegemonic masculinities, filmmaking, public health policy, gender stereotypes, gender performance, smoking, alcohol misuse, drug misuse, Sexual Health.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Lury, Prof. Karen, Newlands, Dr. Emma and Munro, Dr. Emily
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mr Alex, S. Chandler
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82163
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 14:58
Last Modified: 07 May 2021 15:12
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82163
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82163

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