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Interchangeable Parents? The Roles and Identities of Primary and Equal Carer Fathers of Young Children

Hodkinson, Paul and Brooks, Rachel (2018) Interchangeable Parents? The Roles and Identities of Primary and Equal Carer Fathers of Young Children Current Sociology.

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Against the context of enduring gender inequalities in early years’ parental care, this paper examines the experiences of UK fathers who had taken on primary or equal care responsibility for children aged three or under. Informed by qualitative interviews with 24 such fathers, the paper explores a discourse of parental interchangeability that pervaded their accounts before outlining the ways that, in practice, most caregiving tasks did tend to be allocated to them or their partners primarily on the basis of factors other than gender. The men’s comfort in presenting themselves and their partners as interchangeable equivalents, along with the range of caregiving approaches they were taking on suggest, we argue, that they had begun to move beyond clearly differentiated motherly or fatherly roles. We go on, however, to show that certain emotional, organisational and social aspects of parenting sometimes continued to be centred on mothers. In explaining the endurance of these areas of maternal responsibility within otherwise interchangeable partnerships, we outline mutually reinforcing sets of maternal pressures and paternal barriers.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 7 November 2018
DOI : 10.1177/0011392118807530
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2018 The Author(s). Published by SAGE Publications
Uncontrolled Keywords : family; fathering; masculinity; parenting; gender
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 05 Sep 2018 11:50
Last Modified : 23 Nov 2018 17:28

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