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Title: 'It just hasn't happened yet': stories of not being a biological father
Author: Dalzell , Ann
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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The lived experiences of men who are childless and want to be biological parents are rarely heard. This in-depth narrative study focuses on the stories of five men who want to be biological fathers but who do not have children for reasons other than male infertility. The aim of this research is to explore and understand how each man navigates not being a biological father within the contours of pronatalist constructs which, politically, culturally and socially, support prevailing assumptions regarding men who are not fathers. In recogmtlOn of the differently patterned and multi-layered configurations of the relationships these men have with being childless - and in order to remain close to the detailed stories of each man - this research is carried out within a narrative inquiry, anchored in postmodern/poststructural, feminist, thinking, interwoven with critical reflexive and visual inquiry practices. To acknowledge the liminal spaces between expectations of fatherhood and lived experiences of being childless, and to embrace multiple responses to these narratives, this research is presented in the physical form of a literary triptych. The creation of the three books making up the thesis - 'stories of 'expert' knowledges', 'stories of not being a biological father' and 'stories of multiple meanings' - dissipates possible assumptions that one set of stories has authority over others. The triptych is accompanied by an introductory set of 'gallery notes'. Through our unstructured research conversations, this group of men generate rich stories of pronatalist pressures, opportunities to parent, making choices, looking for the 'right' woman, outsiderness, the impact of a 'moral panic' around men and children, fantasies of fatherhood and fathering, as well as revising individual assumptions that becoming a father was inevitable. These stories are told within the context of relationships, race, history, shifting identities and engagements with heteronormative expectations. This research has implications for individuals in relationships with men who are not fathers and those in professional roles within, for example, healthcare, counselling, education, social policy making and reproductive sociology. The narratives arising out of this research encourage a (re)view of personal/institutional/professional assumptions about childless men who want to become fathers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available