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Lad or Dad?: An analysis of some of the discourses found in fatherhood books in Britain
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In Britain, fathers are allowed just two weeks of paid paternity leave while mothers may take out 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. (, 2012). It could seem, then, that the mothers are expected to do most of the child rearing. This essay investigates if this is true by examining discourse in three British books for fathers-to-be; Rob Kemp’s (2010) The expectant dad’s survival guide, Andrew Watson’s (2011) Down to Earth with a bump – The diary of a first-time dad, and Tim Atkinson’s (2011) Fatherhood – The essential guide. These books have all been amassed into a corpus and they are analysed using methods developed by Paul Baker (2006).This essay aims to find out what discourse is used, and what the expectations are on fathers-to-be in the UK by examining three popular books on fatherhood. Jane Sunderland’s (2002) study of fatherhood discourses in general parenting books will serve as a background to this study: In her study, Sunderland (2002) presented a thesis of the father as someone who assists with the child-rearing rather than doing any actual child-rearing himself. This thesis will be tested in this study, as will a claim by Andrew Watson (2011) that “we all face fatherhood reluctantly and need a desperate gag in every paragraph to stop us losing interest and turning on the telly?” (Watson, 2011: viii).As will be shown, the situation is more complex and fathers are actually expected to be involved in the child-rearing as much as they are able. This study shows that some fathers actually lament the fact that, for various reasons, they cannot be more involved. The books actually do have a more progressive view on fatherhood than they first appear to, and hopefully they can inspire fathers to be ‘doers’ rather than ‘helpers’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 31 p.
Keyword [en]
Fatherhood, gender roles, parenting, discourse analysis, child-rearing, family, societal standards, norms, corpus research, British English
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-24320OAI: diva2:605291
Subject / course
Educational program
Language, Culture and Communication Programme, 180 credits
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-02-20 Created: 2013-02-13 Last updated: 2013-02-20Bibliographically approved

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