An Intersectional Approach to the Construction and Enactment of Diversity Amongst Ageing Men Involved with Community Men's Sheds in Australia

This paper focuses on the intersecting discourses of ageing men involved in Community Men’s Sheds in NSW Australia. The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) states that sheds are for 'everyman'. Using photo elicitation, interviews and focus groups with men’s shed members, their management and the board and management of AMSA, I interrogate the intersecting narratives that underpin the constructions of “everyman”. While men’s sheds have been researched by those exploring health because of their effectivity for reaching harder groups within the ageing population, less has been written about the role of the notion of “diversity” in the way sheds address their members. Common popular discourses around ageing – such as the notion of “active ageing” – have been critiqued (Katz, 2000, Katz and Calasanti, 2015) for presenting an overly homogenous account of the ageing population, and paying insufficient attention to differences of gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and disability. This research project takes such critiques of overly homogenous ageing as a starting point. In this paper, Kimberley Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality will be deployed in a fresh setting to explore the complexity of ageing masculinities enacted in the environment of community men’s sheds. This paper reports on early doctoral research that explores members’ lived experiences, and members’ understandings of and assumptions about ‘what sort of ageing men become involved with sheds.’ In doing so it seeks to map out how the language of “diversity” works to constitute identities in men’s sheds.

Lifestyles, Cultural Perspectives

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session