a joint venture with contradictionset to-kønnet fællesskab
Based on a longitudinal interview-study of ten heterosexual couples and first-time parents, in Denmark the author argues that addressing contemporary everyday family life as a joint venture with contradictions contribute new insights into the complexities, contradictions, and ambiguities linked to parents’ daily practices with their child. Contrary to the paradox in existing research between the ideal of gender equality on the one hand, and the differentiated and gender-based division of housework and care on the other, it is argued that changes are accruing even though parents still appear to adopt gender-based models when it comes to the day-to-day care and the distribution of domestic chores. Through empirical analyses it is demonstrated how the advent of the child becomes a fulcrum, and also how female and male parents’ expectations, beliefs and practises are rooted in traditional notions of complementary gender roles as well as in new understandings of gender equality based on ideals of mutual trust, respect and support. As a result, it is important to investigate how parenthood, family life and parental roles are constantly reflected upon and reproduced, negotiated and transformed through multifaceted and even contradictory strategies.
Nordic Psychology (online), 2011, Vol 63, Issue 2, p. 68-87
Parenting; first time parents; everyday family life; child as social actor; gender-equality