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|'Men as Fathers' - Timescapes project|
The MAF research team gave a presentation at a conference hosted by the Timescapes network in London on 13th June 2011. The conference was on “Understanding and Supporting Families Over Time”. Our presentation was called “Strengthening Men’s Involvement in Fathering : Opportunities and Challenges” . We discussed the potential value of our research work charting men’s experiences over time in relation to their lives with others for policy making and for professional practictioners working with families. A well illustrated policy briefing on our work was also made available as a short brochure at the event. Two politicians gave presentations on their work on the following day. Frank Field MP spoke about his review of poverty and life chances and preventing poor children from becoming poor adults and parents. Graham Allen MP spoke about his campaign for government to promote “Early Interventions” to intervene in intergenerational cycles of deprivation. It was interesting to be able to pose questions to them based on our work: Karen Henwood asked the following question of Graham Allen. “In yesterday’s sessions presenting findings and implications from research we heard a lot about intergenerational transmissions and good parenting. I would like to ask Graham a question about the contributions men can make to family life and parenting linked to these themes, since this is something we have been looking at in our research. We now know quite a lot about men’s responsiveness to changes in family culture - in particular how they recognise that they need to be more involved in family life (including the sharing and caring) – and about a whole raft of practical barriers complicating this. But we also need to find out more about the intergenerational transmission of troubled and troubling aspects of masculinity. This is of concern to society more widely, and was made apparent to us by a number of the fathers who are taking part in our study. And it is a matter that cuts across differences in family socioeconomic circumstances as there are at least two types of masculinity to be considered here – workaholism and macho masculinity. Some of the men in our study talked about the vexed nature of the transmissions they experienced of workaholic models of fathering, which they remembered from their own father’s way of fathering. Others were worried about the transmission of macho masculinity as their own fathers had not been a wanted presence in the home and had demanded that their sons go into men’s jobs. These might be considered intergenerationally transmitted aspects of men’s ‘classed masculinities’. The MAF project team would be interested to hear if these kinds of issues have featured in your own thinking?”
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