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The Moral Habitus of fatherhood

Grant Holder: Dr Jonathan Ives

Academic and policy interest in fathering and fatherhood in the UK has been steadily growing over the past few decades, with fatherhood often placed high on the political agenda. Concerns about the social and economic costs of absent and unwilling fathers continue to be voiced in both the popular media and political arena. Underpinning this is a belief that willing and involved fathers are beneficial to mothers, children and society, and this has given rise to various initiatives, both local and national, to attempt to engage men in fathering, in the hope that they will become involved and active fathers.

Using an innovative combination of event diary, telephone interview, and face to face interview, this project seeks to undertake a qualitative exploration of mens' experiences of the transition into first time fatherhood from the 12th week of pregnancy to 8 weeks after the birth. Focussing initially on mens' normative expectations of themselves as fathers, this project will explore the barriers and enablers that men experience as they make the transition into fatherhood, with a view to indentifying ways of better supporting men during this transition.

The project is now in its writing up phase, and some of the key findings have been summarised and published in a briefing report, made available to practitioners, policy makers and other stakeholders. A copy of the report can be accessed below:

The Moral Habitus of Fatherhood [pdf]