Children and child-centeredness as social mechanisms in father-to-father relations during parental leave

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Zoom - register via
  • Lecturer: Tobias Axelsson, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University
  • Website
  • Organiser: Centre for Gender Research
  • Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
  • Seminarium

This presentation explores, from a feminist and critical realist perspective, whether and how children and child-centeredness function as social mechanisms in father-to-father relations.

Abstract: This presentation is based on an article that is under review for Journal of Family Studies. It explores, from a critical realist, feminist and childhood sociological perspective, whether and how children and child-centeredness function as social mechanisms in father-to-father relations, and how these relations can be understood in relation to masculinities. Based on observations of so-called fathering spaces, that is, a parenting support arena and a meeting place for fathers on parental leave in Sweden, and interviews with fathers attending such spaces, the article contributes to previous feminist research on men to men-relations, and to research on father-to-father relations and fathering practices. The article finds that relations between men, as fathers, in fathering spaces, are built on reciprocal care through four structures: room arrangements, daily routines, conversations, and embodied practices. These results are analysed and discussed in relation to three gendered patterns and processes regarding the intersections between childcare and masculinities: masculinisation of childcare; incorporation of childcare in high-status constructions of masculinities; and de-gendering of childcare. Further, crucial social mechanisms – the physical presence of children and child-centeredness – set up conditions enabling father-to-father relations to be based on care and dependency rather than domination. Such insights can be used for developing parenthood policies explicitly targeting men based on their caring capabilities.

The Centre for Gender Research has a recurring seminar series on Thursdays, 13.15–15.00 for all those interested in gender and gender research. The Thursday seminars touch upon several different research areas, reflecting the breath of gender research. The seminars also aim to create cross-disciplinary meetings between researchers and students. 

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