The Awkward Spaces of Fathering: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Awkward Spaces of Fathering

1st Edition

By Stuart C. Aitken


268 pages

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Societal notions of fathers have evolved from the distant breadwinner through genial dad and masculine role model to today's equal co-parent. This book seeks to explore the spaces and movements of men-as-fathers. Weaving together theories of space, sexuality and political identity with the stories of fathers from a range of sources, including popular culture, it discusses the way in which geographies of space can disconnect and disempower fathers, while societal notions marginalize and disassociate them from raising children. It explores how fathering identities are shaped by family and community spaces and aims to move the definition of 'fathering' beyond its definition in opposition to 'mothering'. In doing so, it provides insights into the contradictory nature of father's lives and argues that, rather than moving away from the traditional notions of masculine roles, that the emotional work of fathering in itself is an heroic act.


'This fascinating book complicates the histories and geographies of fatherhood in new and important ways. Ambitious in its objectives, and creative in its methodological and conceptual approach, it takes us through the hidden spaces of fathering of scholars of the Enlightenment, contemporary renderings of fathers in western film and a moving, highly personal and lyrical rendering of fathers' reflections as they struggle with and against received concepts of fathering. These are woven through the text as received wisdom and also occasionally transformed by the author into a moving ethno-poetry. The compelling narrative is punctuated by wide-ranging exploration and mobilization of post-structuralist thinking on affect, difference and becoming. A must read for feminists, Deleuzians and anyone interested in the production and contestation of gender roles.' Susan Ruddick, University of Toronto, Canada '… a fascinating book… Highly recommended.' Choice '… a father cannot read this book or encounter these fathers and not be changed for the better. And perhaps, that is the greatest praise that can be bestowed on this book.' Men and Masculinities 'The book has immense appeal to Geographers interested in post-structuralist, non-representational and feminist theory and also ethnographic methods, but will resonate particularly well with parents.' New Zealand Geographer

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Partially remembered stories; Part I Framing: Fathering frames: some histories and geographies; Recovering fatherhood. Part II Closing In: Cinematic landscapes and leaking bodies; The inevitable father; Stretching the imagination. Part III Moving: Tactics, strategies and lines of flight; Migrant moves. Part IV Stopping: Geographic solutions and trials by space; Punctured domesticity; Coming home; Conclusion: fathers beside themselves; References; Index.

About the Author

Professor Stuart C. Aitken, San Diego State University, USA and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography