Fathering in the city : diverse masculinities and care giving practices in New York City

Gallais, Catherine

Sociology
August 2019

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2019 Catherine Gallais. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

This thesis is about primary caregiving fathers in New York City. It aims to explore the changing nature of masculinities in relation to fatherhood. Starting with the premise that not all masculinities are equal, it asks whether, and if yes, how, differential access to resources and choices and discourses as men is reproduced in the realm of parenting, shaping their lives and experiences as fathers.

The literature on primary caregiving fathers is emerging, where sociological studies have focused on white, heterosexual, middle-class, married, stay-at-home fathers. Moreover, analyses often privilege one axis of differentiation –gender–, when other identity positions are often relegated to second position, thus obscuring the nuances and complexity of the men’s experiences. Using an ethnographic approach, I spent 11 months in 2016 following 15 fathers from different backgrounds, meeting with them and interviewing them, meeting their families and friends, meeting other fathers along the way, as well as interviewing 5 professionals working with fathers. This thesis combines men and masculinities and intersectionality theories to draw attention to the social inequalities that exist between men.

My research findings show that masculinities inform the kinds of father the men are. Masculinities are relational, they are performances undertaken in particular contexts, and intersect with other social categories, such as class, race, sexuality and faith, shaping their fathering experiences, the meanings assigned to fatherhood, and their experiences as men. I argue that race, as an organizing system of difference, is the most important axis of differentiation in parenting for these men. It has profound implications on the men’s lived experiences and on the ways in which they are fathers to their children.

Publisher
Department of Criminology and Sociology, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Johnson, Mark, 1949-; Alsop, Rachel
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
3 MB
Identifier
hull:17709
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