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Negotiating involved fatherhood: Household work, childcare and spending time with children
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2007 (English)In: Norma, ISSN 1890-2138, Vol. 2, no 2, 109-126 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research shows that Swedish fathers to a great extent endorse an ideal of gender equality and the discourse on the 'new', involved fatherhood that for several decades has been dominating Swedish family politics is now also more or less hegemonic among Swedish men. At the same time, research argues that there is a discrepancy between ideology and practice. Parenthood still means different things for men and women since women, for instance, continue to take the main responsibility for childcare and household work. Drawing on an ethnographic study, this article analyses how eight Swedish middle class men construct themselves as involved fathers and how they negotiate their involvement in household work, childcare and close relations with their children. The article shows that even though the discourse on paternal involvement may be dominant, it is nevertheless contested. The men mostly constructed their involvement as being gender-equal, but at times they resisted it through articulating discourses on child-centredness, kinship and gendered division of labour. Thus, they reiterated themselves as involved fathers, but not always necessarily in line with the official dual-carer discourse.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Universitetsforlaget , 2007. Vol. 2, no 2, 109-126 p.
Keyword [en]
Fatherhood, involved parenthood, childcare, household work, gender equality, men's practices, family
National Category
Gender Studies Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-18664OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-18664DiVA: diva2:221230
Available from: 2009-06-03 Created: 2009-06-03 Last updated: 2012-06-14
In thesis
1. Involved Parenthood: Everyday Lives of Swedish Middle-Class Families
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Involved Parenthood: Everyday Lives of Swedish Middle-Class Families
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Engagerat föräldraskap : Svenska medelklassfamiljers vardagsliv
Abstract [en]

The dissertation studies how 16 Swedish middle-class parents understand and form their parenthood in everyday life. The focus is set on how they involve themselves in their children’s care and education, and how parental identities are negotiated in relation to cultural norms on parenthood. The analysis is based on qualitative methods, in particular interviews and participant observation with video camera in eight families. The study, which is inspired by poststructuralist perspectives on identity formation, shows that the informants position themselves in relation to a norm on involved parenthood, which is negotiated differently depending on social context and gender. The dissertation includes four empirical studies. The first focuses on the subjectivities and dilemmas that are created by parents’ strategies to manage time and childcare. The strategies render everyday life more effective, but the parents also want to be child-centered, which forces them to balance between positions as involved and uninvolved parents. The second study examines how the fathers negotiate their involvement in household work, childcare and time with children. To great extent, they follow the discourse on gender-equal and involved fatherhood, but they at times resist it through drawing on notions of child-centeredness, kinship, and a gendered division of labor. The third study focuses on how parents and teachers negotiate children’s education and rearing. Study four shows how the parents position themselves as involved parents in relation to their children’s homework. In conclusion, the dissertation shows that the parents idealize time spent with the children, but that in everyday life it is hard to get this time. Instead, much time is spent for the child, that is, doing household work and childcare. In both cases, time is child-centered, but time with the child is by the parents seen as “more” involved time.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen studerar hur 16 svenska medelklassföräldrar förstår och utformar sitt föräldraskap i vardagen. Särskilt fokuseras på hur de engagerar sig i sina barns omsorg och skolgång, samt hur föräldraidentiteter förhandlas i relation till kulturella normer kring föräldraskap. Analyserna är baserade på kvalitativa metoder, med intervjuer och deltagande observation med videokamera i åtta familjer. Studien, som är inspirerad av poststrukturalistiska perspektiv på identitet, visar att informanterna positionerar sig i relation till en norm om engagerat föräldraskap. Denna förhandlas dock i relation till kön och social kontext. Avhandlingen omfattar fyra delstudier. Den första fokuserar på de subjektiviteter och dilemman som skapas av föräldrarnas strategier för att hantera tid och barnomsorg. Strategierna effektiviserar vardagen, men föräldrarna vill samtidigt vara barncentrerade, vilket gör att de måste balansera mellan positioner som engagerade och icke-engagerade föräldrar. Den andra delstudien undersöker hur männen förhandlar sitt engagemang i hushållsarbete, barnomsorg och tid med barnen. De följer till stora delar den samhälleliga diskursen om jämställt och engagerat faderskap, men omdefinierar den genom att dra på föreställningar om barncentrering, släktskap och könsarbetsdelning. I den tredje studien undersöks hur föräldrar och lärare förhandlar om barns utbildning och fostran. Delstudie fyra visar hur föräldrarna positionerar sig som engagerade föräldrar i förhållande till sina barns läxor. Avhandlingen visar sammanfattningsvis att föräldrarna idealiserar tid som spenderas med barnen, men att det i vardagslivet är svårt att få denna tid. Istället ägnas mycket tid för barnet, det vill säga hushållsarbete och barnomsorg. I båda handlar det om barncentrering, men föräldrarna uppfattar tid med barnet som ”mer” engagerad tid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2009. 199 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 473
Keyword
Childcare, family life, home-school relations, homework, household work, parenthood, subjectivity, gender, ethnography, video-based observations, Föräldraskap, familjeliv, hushållsarbete, barnomsorg, hem-skolarelationer, läxor, normer, subjektivitet, genus, etnografi, videoobservationer
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-18680 (URN)978-91-7393-707-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-02-27, Val, Vallfarten, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-06-12 Created: 2009-06-03 Last updated: 2014-09-25Bibliographically approved

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