Masculinity is gaining increasing popular and academic interest. At one level, football hooligans, absent fathers, 'Essex man' and 'new men' are regular media presences. At the same time, masculinity is the subject of increasingly sophisicated theoretical discussion, and there are a wide range of accounts of what masculinity means. Understanding Masculinities is the first introductory text to examine the range of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the understanding of masculinity. It brings together overviews of the key theoretical debates with new empirical material, focusing on different social and cultural arenas, and the wide range of masculinities which exist. It discusses education, unemployment, sport, sexuality, HIV, and black masculinities. Understanding Masculinities critically explores the gendered and sexual dynamics of these masculinities, challenging and transforming our conventional assumptions. Understanding Masculinities will be important reading for undergraduate and masters students of sociology, women's studies, gender and psychology. It will also be of interest to anyone concerned with broadening their understanding of masculinity.