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Title: Contemporary fatherhood and male emotional expressivity
Author: Semple, Melanie Marguerite
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 6428
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2001
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Two models of fatherhood dominate academic discussions, an older more traditional form and a newer more 'liberal' form. The older model is generally defined as instrumental and detached whilst the newer model is viewed as more egalitarian and engaged. These are polarised models, which sets up the framework for a potential revolution in fatherhood, with a move away from the older model in favour of newer. However, despite dramatic shifts in motherhood, the 'revolution' in fatherhood is generally seen to have lagged behind. This failure of the 'new man' model of fathering to be realised more fully in practice has created something of a sociological puzzle, since both academic and popular accounts present instrumental fatherhood as being deficient and emotionally unsatisfying. This thesis explores why the expected revolution is unrealised and investigates the space between 'old' and 'new' models of fatherhood, a space that that is neglected in the literature. It is argued that if we engage with this space a shift towards a more expanded emotional fathering can be discerned. However, this is a model of fathering that encompasses elements of both the 'old' and 'new' models. Models of fatherhood are generally measured in reference to changes in the domestic division of labour, with most theorists arguing that there has been little change in the way domestic labour is organised. The methodology of this thesis explores the diverse meanings that fathers themselves place on fathering rather than looking at fathering practice, and uses a qualitative research framework. 43 fathers were interviewed about their experiences of fathering. It is argued that closer investigation of the meanings of fatherhood reveals a sphere of transition, and a new form of fathering that makes sense of the apparent paradox of liberal attitudes and illiberal behaviour. Both instrumental fathering and liberal fathering are emotionally important to the men in this study. The men viewed 'liberal' fathering in terms of their emotional connection with their children rather than in terms of an egalitarian or symmetrical division of labour. Their particular construction of 'liberal' fathering reduced the contradictions between beliefs and practice, since their stress on 'emotional' fathering was still consistent with the instrumental model.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available