Nordic Social Work Research
In this article, we address the question of how boys whose fathers are absent construct an image of fatherhood. Drawing on the stories told by three boys whose fathers are absent, we explore how the boys, in the relation with their mothers, siblings and others, construct and negotiate an image of fatherhood, including how they envisage themselves to be as fathers in the future. The data material consists of life-mode interviews with the boys and their mothers. Theoretically, we are inspired by social constructionism and cultural psychology. We find that the boys aspire to become fathers who engage in close and mutual relations within the family, who are emotionally and practically available, who are consistent and predictable, and who participate in activities with their children. This image of fatherhood is in line with the contemporary expectations to fathers in our culture. In developing this notion of fatherhood, the role of the mothers is crucial, and we find that they – in their repertoire of motherhood – propose to their sons a cultural orientation that affirms their sons’ identity as men and future fathers. (Author abstract)
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