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Fatherhood in the early 21st century

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Product Description

Edited by Deborah Dempsey (Swinburne University of Technology) and Belinda Hewitt (University of Queensland)

Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-921980-01-5
Pages: 164

Overview

The patriarchal nuclear family, as a cultural ideal and social institution, has somewhat destabilised over the past few decades. Women as well as men in heterosexual couple families now frequently engage in paid work which has led to some reworking of conventional fathering identities within the nuclear family and the emergent possibility of larger numbers of actively engaged carer fathers. Australian gay and heterosexual fathers are often involved in care relationships with their children outside of the context of marriage, including sole parenting and parenting post-divorce. The ostensibly gender-neutral Australian Paid Parental Leave Scheme introduced in January 2011 gestures toward an expectation that fathers as well as mothers can be actively engaged in the care of very young children. Further to the above, reproductive technologies such as donor insemination and gestational surrogacy have enabled newer categories of gay fathering identities to emerge in Australia such as the ‘surro’ and ‘donor’ dad.

Fatherhood is a complex and controversial institution and set of practices in the early 21st century. Many Australian men are now engaged in resident and non-resident care relationships with children outside of the context of marriage. Contemporary instances of this for gay and heterosexual men include sole parenting, foster care and parenting post-divorce. Women, as well as men in heterosexual couple families now frequently engage in paid work, which has led to some reworking of conventional fathering identities within the nuclear family and the emergent possibility of larger numbers of involved carer fathers. For many years now, researchers have sought to understand the dynamics of work/care divisions of labour among heterosexual couples, and recent indications are that fathers are beginning to take on more caring responsibilities for children despite their long paid work hours. Furthermore, since the early 2000s, the increasing popularity of reproductive technologies such as donor insemination and gestational surrogacy has enabled newer categories of Australian gay fathering identities to emerge such as the ‘surro’ and ‘donor’ dad.

The primary aim of this special issue is to bring together recent Australian research on gay and heterosexual fatherhood, to our knowledge, for the first time in this country. We emphasise gender as an important axis of difference when it comes to resident and non-resident, biological and social fathers’ participation in children’s care. The issue as a whole reflects on some very contemporary fatherhood themes or ‘new vistas’ (e.g. engaging fathers in care of young infants, gay fathers), as well as latest findings about ‘familiar dilemmas’ in the literature (e.g. work/life balance in heterosexual relationships). In the editorial prefacing the issue, we will reflect on the evidence for persistence and change in dominant gendered understandings and practices of fatherhood across the sexuality divide.

Table of Contents

Editorial: Fatherhood in the 21st Century
— Deborah Dempsey and Belinda Hewitt

The transition to fatherhood: A literature review exploring paternal involvement with identity theory
— Cherine Habib

‘I felt like a third wheel’: Fathers’ stories of exclusion from the ‘parenting team’
— Barbara Cosson and Elinor Graham

Child sexual abuse, masculinity and fatherhood
— Rhys Price-Robertson

Gay and bisexual dads and diversity: Fathers in the Work, Love, Play study
— Jennifer Power, Amaryll Perlesz, Ruth McNair, Margot Schofi eld, Marian Pitts, Rhonda Brown and Andrew Bickerdike

Gay male couples’ paternal involvement in lesbian-parented families
— Deborah Dempsey

Australian fathers’ work and family time in comparative and temporal perspective
— Lyn Craig and Killian Mullan

Non-standard employment and fathers’ time in household labour
— Belinda Hewitt, Janeen Baxter and Cameron Mieklejohn

Fathering across families: How father involvement varies for children when their father has children living elsewhere
— Jennifer Anne Baxter

Post-separation patterns of children’s overnight stays with each parent: A detailed snapshot
— Bruce Smyth, Bryan Rodgers, Liz Allen and Vu Son

Social contact, efficacy and support amongst Australian fathers
— Roger Patulny

Separated fathers and the ‘fathers’ rights’ movement
— Michael Flood

Descriptions of loss and resilience among fathers paying child support
— Kristin A Natalier

Book Reviews

The Dad Factor: How father–baby bonding helps a child for life
— by Richard Fletcher — Reviewed by Rebecca Giallo

Fathers in Cultural Context
— Eds. David W Shwalb, Barbara J Shwalb and Michael E Lamb — Reviewed by Don Edgar


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