The Awkward Spaces of Fathering.

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Aitken, Stuart C.
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Throughout history, the general perception is that it is man's role to interact with the wider world, providing food, protection, performing heroic acts and journeying to redefine borders and expand our geographic horizons. Private, domestic spaces and acts such as childcare have commonly been seen as female. Yet, as women are increasingly entering and remaining in the workplace, there has been a shift in familial power relations, and as a result, men's role as 'fathers' has changed and become marginalized. Societal notions of fathers have evolved from the distant breadwinner through genial dad and masculine role model to today's equal co-parent. While this transformation has been seen by many scholars as a positive one, men's co-parenting tends to be seen as interdependent with, in opposition to, and at times, less than mothering. Much of the institution of fatherhood still does not embrace fathering as a daily emotional practice that is negotiated, contested and resisted differently in different spaces.

This book seeks to explore the spaces and movements of men-as-fathers. Weaving together theories of space, sexuality and political identity with the stories of fathers from a range of sources, including popular culture, it discusses the way in which geographies of space can disconnect and disempower fathers, while societal notions marginalize and disassociate them from raising children. It explores how fathering identities are shaped by family and community spaces and aims to move the definition of 'fathering' beyond its definition in opposition to 'mothering'. In doing so, it provides insights into the contradictory nature of father's lives and argues that, rather than moving away from the traditional notions of masculine roles, that the emotional work of fathering in itself is an heroic act. (Author abstract)

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