Recent research shows that Swedish fathers to a great extent endorse an ideal of gender equality and the discourse on the ‘new’, involved fatherhood that for several decades has been dominating Swedish family politics is now also more or less hegemonic among Swedish men. At the same time, research argues that there is a discrepancy between ideology and practice. Parenthood still means different things for men and women since women, for instance, continue to take the main responsibility for childcare and household work. Drawing on an ethnographic study, this article analyses how eight Swedish middle class men construct themselves as involved fathers and how they negotiate their involvement in household work, childcare and close relations with their children. The article shows that even though the discourse on paternal involvement may be dominant, it is nevertheless contested. The men mostly constructed their involvement as being gender-equal, but at times they resisted it through articulating discourses on child-centredness, kinship and gendered division of labour. Thus, they reiterated themselves as involved fathers, but not always necessarily in line with the official dual-carer discourse.
Fatherhood, involved parenthood, childcare, household work, gender equality, men’s practices, family