What is Fatherhood? Searching for the Reflexive Father

Stephen Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines fatherhood as a contemporary sociological phenomenon. Drawing on interviews with 40 fathers, it considers perceptions and experiences of how the concept and practice of fatherhood are undergoing important changes. Specifically, it argues that fatherhood is affected by (after Giddens) a process of detraditionalization, whereby fathering is increasingly a response to personal biography and circumstances rather than being modelled on traditional ideal types of what it means to be a father.Theoretically, the discussion uses some of the ideas developed in debates on reflexive modernization to suggest that fatherhood is becoming progressively individualized. It uses these theoretical interpretations as a tool in understanding the way that societal change in all its complexity impacts on the role of the late modern reflexive father.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)487 - 502
    Number of pages15
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


    • detraditionalization
    • fatherhood
    • individualization
    • reflexive modernization
    • tradition


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