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Type: Theses
Title: Constructions of primary caregiving fathers and masculinities
Author: Hunter, Sarah Clare
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: This thesis presents a discursive analysis of constructions and representations of primary caregiving fathers in popular parenting texts and Australian newsprint media. Primary caregiving fathers are increasingly the focus of both academic and cultural interest and this interest stems from the argument that there are shifting understandings and practices of fatherhood. Fathers are argued to be shifting away from traditional, provider models of fathering, toward a new and involved model where fathers can express a more nurturing side. In addition to the changing nature and practice of fatherhood, there have been arguments that this change reflects and contributes to simultaneous changes in masculinities. Hegemonic masculinity – the form of masculinity that maintains men’s dominance – has long informed traditional definitions of fathers as the distant, financial provider. However, the concept of hegemonic masculinity cannot account for the experiences of primary caregiving fathers, as these fathers typically step away from the financial provider role. The literature therefore argues that there has been a shift away from hegemonic forms of masculinity and towards one that has been termed a “caring masculinity”. The analyses in this thesis draw on a social constructionist and discursive approach to explore the constructions of masculinities and primary caregiving fathers in order to better understand and account for the experiences of these fathers. Taking this approach allowed for a focus on how fatherhood is a complex cultural and ideological construction that is continuously negotiated and constructed. In particular, three analytic chapters are concerned with the constructions and accounts of primary caregiving fathers in parenting texts published for these fathers and Australian newsprint media. The analyses focus on interpretative repertoires, ideological dilemmas and membership categorisation devices deployed in the data. The analytic findings indicate that: • Despite claims to encourage and promote primary caregiving fathers, parenting texts suggest very specific ways in which it is deemed appropriate for men to take on the primary caregiving role. • Media accounts of primary caregiving fathers rest upon a principle/practice dichotomy of endorsing new and involved fathering in theory, but reproduce considerations that suggest it is unrealistic and impracticable. • The category – primary caregiving father – is fluid and flexible and can be reworked to position these fathers as both within and transgressive of normative masculine and fathering boundaries. This thesis concludes by discussing the implications of these constructions in relation to contemporary conceptualisations and practices of fathering and masculinities.
Advisor: Augoustinos, Martha
Riggs, Damien Wayne
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) (Research by Publication) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2017
Keywords: Research by Publication
primary caregiving fathers
discourse analysis
social constructionism
hegemonic masculinity
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.4225/55/5af2444a3e1e7
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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