Publication Details

Barker, C. J. 2008, ''Men, Buddhism and the discontents of western modernity'', Journal of Men Masculinities and Spirituality, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 29-45.


Late-Modernity involves a loss of personal meaningfulness leading to rising levels of depression and addiction. This paper explores the emotional life stories of a group of western men whose experiences have led them to embrace a globalized Buddhism for answers. Buddhism offers men emotional self-awareness, mindfulness, self-discipline, community, increased calmness of mind and a sense of self-worth. In that context the discourses of Buddhism provide a narrative of hope and a transformed masculinity. There is now a growing body of western scientific evidence showing that meditation and mindfulness have positive psychotherapeutic value. These issues are explored through a range of men’s stories including: David, an emotionally balanced former Buddhist monk; Frank, once a disturbed psychiatric patient; Charles, whose meditation practices were prompted by his depression; Jon and Steve, whose normal unhappiness was eased by their Buddhism.