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Reshaping Fatherhood
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Reshaping Fatherhood
The Social Construction of Shared Parenting


Volume: 12

© 1998 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

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.

 
PART ONE: BACKGROUND
 
Introduction
 
Academic Discourses
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fatherhood  
 
PART TWO: MEANING-MAKING
 
Diversity of Styles in Sharing Parenting
 
Diversity of Paths
What Influenced Men and Women To Move toward Shared Parenting  
 
Guiding Light
Foundations for Sharing Parenting  
 
Tag-Team Parenting and the Mechanisms of Sharing Parenting
 
The Dance of Father Involvement
Men's and Women's Connected Experiences  
 
Sharing Parenting and the Reciprocal Revisioning of Both Fatherhood and Motherhood
 
PART THREE: RELEXIVE COMMENTARY
 
Reshaping Parenthood
Possibilities to Inform Alternative Discourse  
 
Revisioning Dominant Discourses and Final Reflections
Implications of Taking a Different View  

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