Fatherhood is gaining ever more public and political attention, stimulated by the increasing prominence of fathers’ rights groups and the introduction of social policies, such as paternity leave. Intimate Fatherhood explores discourses of contemporary fatherhood, men’s parenting behaviour and debates about fathers’ rights and responsibilities.
The book addresses the extent to which fatherhood has changed by examining key dichotomies - culture versus conduct, involved versus uninvolved and public versus private. The book also looks at longstanding conundrums such as the apparent discrepancy between fathers’ acceptance of long hours spent in paid work combined with a preference for involved fathering. Dermott maintains that our current view of good fatherhood is related to new ideas of intimacy. She argues that in order to understand contemporary fatherhood, we must recognise the centrality of the emotional father-child relationship, that the importance of breadwinning has been overstated and that flexible involvement is viewed as more important than the amount of time spent in childcare.
Drawing on original qualitative interviews and large-scale quantitative research, Intimate Fatherhood presents a sociological analysis of contemporary fatherhood in Britain by exploring our ideas of good fatherhood in relation to time use, finance, emotion, motherhood and policy debates. This book will interest students, academics and researchers in sociology, gender studies and social policy.
Table of Contents
1. Paradoxes of Contemporary Fatherhood 2. Fatherhood as Breadwinning 3. Fathering Activities and the Meaning of Time 4. Performing Emotion 5. Linking Fatherhood and Motherhood 6. Policy: Defining and Accommodating Fathers 7. Fragile Fathering 8. Discussion: Aspects of Intimacy
Esther Dermott is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bristol, UK.