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Title: Fatherhood and masculinity in Britain, c.1918-1960
Author: King, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 6851
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis forms the first detailed academic study of fatherhood in Britain between the First World War and the end of the 1950s. It considers the father's roles, relationships, status and identity in turn, using a wide range of source materials relating to the representation and experience of fatherhood. It argues that whilst the fundamental tenets of a father's duties remained constant throughout this period and beyond, there was an increased emphasis on the significance of the father-child relationship from the interwar period. This was caused by new psychological ideas about childhood and parenting, the circumstances of the Second World War, and the rising living standards of many families. The father was increasingly positioned at the heart of the family, and the identity of 'the family man' was celebrated and accepted to a much greater degree by the post-war period. A new emphasis on equal and democratic relationships between family members and a belief in the ability of the nuclear family unit to meet the emotional, psychological, recreational and physical needs of its members shaped and was reinforced by this updated version of fatherhood. The current focus on motherhood in the twentieth century, alongside the tendency to view childcare as constituted by labour rather than a combination of labour and leisure, has obscured the substantial changes that fatherhood underwent in this period. The thesis examines the relationship between cultural norms and ideals, and the experiences of families, and suggests that this period also witnessed the growth of an increasingly prescriptive national culture. This in turn had important effects on family life, as the norms and ideals suggested by cultural authorities such as the press began to have a greater influence on the behaviour and attitudes of individuals.
Supervisor: Bingham, Adrian Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available