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Abstracts, NORMA 4.1

Fathers and sons: Gender socialization and intergenerational transmission revisited

Margunn Bjørnholt

This article, which employs a dyadic father-son approach, addresses the methodological and theoretical challenges involved in studying gender socialization and intergenerational transmission. The article is part of a longitudinal follow-up study of the Work-Sharing Couples Project, a small, experimental action research project for gender equality in the family in Norway during the first part of the 1970s; the project was designed to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families and was based on both spouses working part-time and sharing breadwinning, childcare and housework. The follow-up study was conducted by interviewing the original couples in 2005–2006. A sample of the sons of the work- sharing couples has also been interviewed as part of an ongoing follow-up study of intergenerational transmission. The background of the article consists of the findings so far relating to the fathers in the study: these findings provide little or no support for a model of father/son transmission; the work-sharing men did not refer to their own fathers as “role models”. Further, the father-son research design poses certain methodological, theoretical and ethical challenges which should be considered and weighed up against the possible analytical gains of this approach. Against the background of these concerns, a single father-son case is explored based on a couple interview with the parents and individual interviews with both the parents and the son. Based on analyzing this case, methodological and theoretical implications for the study of intergenerational transmission, boys’ socialization and the origin of masculinity/(ies) are discussed.

gender socialization, intergenerational transmission, father-son, masculinity, gender equality

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 4(1), 83-102.


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