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Title: Lone fathers, parenting and masculinities
Author: Barker, Richard W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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This thesis examines lone fathering, parenting and masculinities drawing on data from a study of 35 lone parent fathers who had responsibility for dependent children in households where there was no woman resident. The sample was drawn from child benefit records, and thus is a more representative sample than those used in previous similar studies. Quantitative and qualitative data was obtained via an in-depth interview with the sample members, 19 divorcees and 16 widowers, who were all resident in the North of England. The research explores the impacts of interactionist and structural factors on the experiences of the lone fathers studied. The study has indicated that there was no single pattern of lone fatherhood, it is suggested that differences can be best understood as the expression of different forms of masculinities operating within the different patriarchal structures of society. This research argues for a six fold division of the social construction of patriarchy into the patriarchal relations of the domestic setting, the economic setting, community and neighbourhood, sexuality, the state and culture. On the basis of orientations to gender roles, two forms of masculinities have been established. 'Traditional patriarchs' tended to have experienced lone fatherhood as a gender and parenting crisis to be resolved via minimal change. They were more likely to have developed routines for managing housework than traditional patriarchs, they tended not to regret the additional responsibilities of lone fatherhood, and had an orientation to masculinities which placed child care and parenting as important for men as well as for women. The results of this study suggest that the commonly held assumption that therre has been no recent significant restructuring of male gender roles is an oversimplification. Whilst the members of this sample should not be seen to be New Men, both traditional patriarchs and gender pioneers were more involved with their children and with the management of the household than they had been prior to lone fatherhood, and virtually all the men in the study were more 'active' as fathers and as workers in the domestic setting than men have generally been found to be in studies of two parent families. The study concludes with a discussion of some issues that arise from these findings, and with suggestions for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available