Current research on fatherhood often focuses on minimal changes men have made in their participation in family life. Anna Dienhart argues that men have indeed made significant changes to their family roles, but those changes are often masked in existing discourses on fatherhood. In Reshaping Fatherhood, Dienhart's qualitative study of 18 shared parenting couples explores both men's and women's resourcefulness and shows how these couples have deliberately co-created alternatives to traditional parenting roles. Using these narrative accounts, Dienhart offers several options for creating a family structure that allows both mothers and fathers to participate actively in parenting.
Dienhart emphasizes that “tag-team parenting,” a common technique that couples use to juggle the responsibilities of a hectic family life, relies on both the interchangeability of parental tasks as well as the specialization by preference. Dienhart compares shared parenting to a dance that demands continuous revision of the perceptions and activities of fatherhood and motherhood. She challenges family researchers to move beyond deficit and comparative model perspectives about the complexities of gendered family life as she offers alternative ideas about division-of-labor patterns, men's relational capabilities in child care, the preeminence of men's provider role, and traditional notions about gender and politics in families.
This timely book is ideal for professionals and students in family studies, sociology of the family, family psychology, and gender studies.
Chapter 10: Revisiting Dominant Discourses and Final Reflections: Implications of Taking a Different View
Revisiting Dominant Discourses and Final Reflections: Implications of Taking a Different View
I began this research endeavor with ideas about men in families shaped out of my exposure to dominant academic, media, cultural, and everyday discourses. After exploring these sharing parenting narratives, I arrived back at important initial questions: What might be considered beyond dominant discourses and from whose perspective? What are some of the implications of taking a different view to studying men in families? This chapter returns to those questions. Informed by the understandings gained from the study couples, I take a critical look here into some aspects of dominant academic discourses, specifically exploring the deficit model and comparative model discourses; discourse ...