A cross-national comparative study of the roles of men in contemporary France and Britain
The purpose of this thesis is to increase understanding and contribute to knowledge about the attitudes and behaviour of men in contemporary France and Britain. The thesis has three main aims: firstly, to provide the first cross-national comparison of French and British writing and research on the place of men in contemporary society; secondly, to identify similarities and differences in the roles of men in France and Britain; and thirdly, to determine to what extent and in what way such similarities and differences are linked to the social structures and cultural background of each country. The thesis focusses on two main facets of the male experience: the relationship between men and women and the interaction between fathers and their children. Men's attitudes and behaviour are examined in relation to issues such as the division of household tasks and child care within the family, parental roles, female employment, role reversal, gender stereotyping and changes towards a new image of masculinity in society. Particular consideration is given to differences in governmental attitudes in France and Britain towards the introduction of family policy measures for men as fathers. The thesis ends with a discussion of legislative, social and educational measures which could be introduced in France and Britain in order to promote greater flexibility in men's roles and consequently improve gender equality in each country. The data analysed in the thesis are derived from a questionnaire-based empirical study involving 101 men in Britain and seventy-five men in France. The respondents' experience of and attitudes towards their roles in society are analysed and interpreted in the light of profile data relating to their family circumstances and with reference to knowledge about the broader socio-cultural context.