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Fragile Fathering: negotiating intimacy and risk in parenting practice

In this AHRC-funded pilot study (SG110454) we are examining how ‘fragile fathers’ experience parenthood and the ways that paternal experience is shaped by ideas of risk.
January 2012 - December 2015

Investigators:  Brid Featherstone (Professor, OU Faculty of Health & Social Care), Jacqui Gabb (Senior Lecturer, OU Faculty of Social Sciences), Esther Dermott (University of Bristol)

Through case study and comparative analysis of data from two sets of fathers we will interrogate: how these fathers understand risks in relation to intimacy, sexuality and the body; the significance of popular media debates in shaping father-child interactions; the differential impact of social policies and legislation on paternal practices in particular contexts.

Building upon the British Academy project on fragile fathers (2012-2013), a larger project is being developed to explore how fragile fathers in a range of situations do intimacy within differing understandings of risky situations and practices. One important strand will concern those fathers who come to the attention of child protection services. This will build upon long-standing work of Brid Featherstone in this area (eg, Fathers Matter research projects led by the Family Rights Group from 2004-2010 with government funding).

Image: Father and Daughter by Ashley Webb, Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Learn more about the research programme: Intimate Relationships