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Modern men: A Norwegian 30-year longitudinal study of intergenerational transmission and social change
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The dissertation addresses men and change, intergenerational transmission, historical change and agency, employing as a case a longitudinal follow-up study over two generations of men, where the fathers participated in an experimental research project, the Work-Sharing Couples Project, which aimed to promote egalitarian work–family adaptations in Norway in the early 1970s. The original project was based on both spouses working part-time and shift parenting. The summary presents a multidimensional analysis of the work–family adaptations of the two generations of men: the untraditional adaptation of fathers in the 1970s; and the neo-traditional adaptations of sons in the 2000s. Their different work–family adaptations are discussed as situated agency, taking into account different aspects of time and space, personal biography, discursive and material structures of opportunity, and intergenerational dynamics at the family level as well as at social level.

The five articles present the empirical material: Bjørnholt (2009a) presents the impact on the couple relation and the family of the the parents’ work–sharing arrangement, concluding that the work-sharing arrangement was perceived by the participants to have been beneficial for their couple relationship as well as for the family as a whole. Bjørnholt (2011) explores the motivations of the work-sharing men to act as agents of change towards gender equality, concluding that personal biography, an authoritative way of being and new masculinity ideals, notably a partner- oriented masculinity, were important. Bjørnholt (2010b) analyses the consequences of the work-sharing arrangement on the work-sharing men’s careers, concluding that there were few negative career effects. They were rather successful, and their house-father experiences tended to be valued by employers as management skills. Bjørnholt (2009b) concludes that a father–son design is insufficient in explaining intergenerational transmission and Bjørnholt (2010c) finds that the untraditional work–family arrangement had not been passed on to sons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2014. , 137 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Gender Research, 3
Keyword [en]
fathering, intergenerational transmission, longitudinal qualitative research, masculinities, men, part-time, social change, work–family
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34980ISBN: 978-91-7529-027-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-34980DiVA: diva2:715966
Public defence
2014-10-09, Prismahuset, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-07 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Norwegian work-sharing couples project 30 years later: revisiting an experimental research project forgender equality in the family
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Norwegian work-sharing couples project 30 years later: revisiting an experimental research project forgender equality in the family
2009 (English)In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISSN 2040-7149, E-ISSN 2040-7157, Vol. 28, no 4, 304-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline the background as well as methodological and epistemological aspects to, and the effects of, a follow-up study 30 years later of the work-sharing couples project, which is a Norwegian, experimental research project in the early 1970s. The aim of the project is to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families. In this paper the variation in work-sharing and post work-sharing trajectories over the life-course is explored, mainly focusing on the impact of the work-sharing arrangement on the couples’ relations, their work/life balance and the well-being of participants, the core objectives of the original project.

Design/methodology/approach – The original project has a small scale, interventionist design based on couples working part-time and sharing childcare and housework; effects on family life and gender equality are documented by questionnaires and time diaries. In the follow-up study, retrospective life-course couple interviews with the original participants are used.

Findings – Revisiting the original project produced new insights into, the subversive and radical use of sex-role theory in early Norwegian family sociology as an instrument of changing gender relations. In the follow-up study, the high level of participation and the long duration of the arrangement would seem to qualify for a heightened level of expectation as to the effects of the experiment on the participants’ lives. A high proportion of the couples are still married, and the work-sharing arrangement has been regarded by the majority of participants to have had a positive impact on their marital relation, work/life balance and well-being.

Practical implications – Insights gained from revisiting this project may prove fruitful when confronting contemporary dilemmas of work/life balance, as well as demographic and environmental challenges. Originality/value – The original project is unique internationally owing to its theoretically subversive, interventionist design and reformatory ambition. The longitudinal follow-up of the experiment is also unique in family research, and of great value for researchers into gender equality and the family.

Keyword
Norway, Gender, Family roles, Equal opportunities, Dual-career couples
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37923 (URN)10.1108/02610150910954773 (DOI)
Note

Equal Opportunities International ended 2009

Now published as "Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal"

Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. How men became the local agentsof change towards gender equality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How men became the local agentsof change towards gender equality
2008 (English)In: Journal of Gender Studies, ISSN 0958-9236, E-ISSN 1465-3869, Vol. 20, no 3, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Work-Sharing Couples Study was an action research project conducted in the early 1970s to reconcile work, family and gender equality in families. Its design involved both spouses working part-time and sharing childcare and housework. This article is based on a follow-up study of the original couples 30 years later. The men played a key role in initiating work-sharing in their families and how the men becameagents of change is the topic of the article. Biographical influences from their families of origin and domestic skills, facilitated by the contemporary concept of a modern, profeminist masculinity, were important background factors, and promoting the careers of wives emerged as an important motivational factor. Their authoritative agency in promoting more egalitarian patterns of work and care in their own families also invokes the question of a constructive use of male power. This could give rise to a further discussion of power and masculinity and men as agents of change towards gender equality.

Keyword
men, part-time, masculinity, power, work/family reconciliation, gender equality
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37925 (URN)10.1080/09589236.2010.514210 (DOI)000288953400002 ()2-s2.0-79953287709 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Part-time work and the career and life choices of the men from the work-sharing couples study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Part-time work and the career and life choices of the men from the work-sharing couples study
2010 (English)In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISSN 2040-7149, E-ISSN 2040-7157, Vol. 29, no 6, 573-582 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose– This article outlines the longitudinal consequences for men who participated in the work‐sharing couples study which was a Norwegian, experimental research project in the early 1970s. The aim of the original project was to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families; the design involved both spouses working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework. This paper aims to present the results of a longitudinal follow‐up study of the participants in the work‐sharing couples study. In this paper the work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the impact of the work‐sharing arrangement on their careers is the main focus.

Design/methodology/approach– The original project had a small scale, interventionist design based on couples working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework; effects were documented by questionnaires and time diaries. In the follow‐up study 30 years later, retrospective life‐course couple interviews with the original participants were used. The current paper is based on an analysis of the couple interviews with a particular focus on the men's careers.

Findings– Obtaining part‐time work was not difficult, and working part‐time was mostly uncomplicated for the men. Neither did their working part time for a substantial amount of time have negative career effects, and they were rather successful professionally. Their experiences as work sharers were mainly positively valued at their workplaces as adding to managerial skills. For those who did not have a managerial career, this was due to personal choice rather than any negative effect of working part‐time.

Practical implications– Changing men's adaptations to work and care is high on the agenda in family research as well as in policy making and the findings from this study contributes to new knowledge which is of interest in research as well as policy making.Originality/value– The original project was unique internationally, and so is the longitudinal follow‐up of this experiment. The work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the longitudinal impact on their careers provide new and contra‐intuitive insights into the question of men, work and family.

Keyword
Gender, Part time workers, Norway, Quality of life, Equal opportunities, Family life
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37927 (URN)10.1108/02610151011067513 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Fathers and sons: gender socialization and intergenerational transmission revisited
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fathers and sons: gender socialization and intergenerational transmission revisited
2009 (English)In: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies (NORMA), ISSN 1890-2138, Vol. 4, no 1, 83-102 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2009
Keyword
gender socialization, intergenerational transmission, father-son, masculinity, gender equality
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37926 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
5. Like father, like sons?: the transmission of values, family practices and work-family adaptations to sons of work-sharing men
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Like father, like sons?: the transmission of values, family practices and work-family adaptations to sons of work-sharing men
2010 (English)In: Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, ISSN 1537-6680, E-ISSN 1933-026X, Vol. 8, no 3, 276-299 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37928 (URN)10.3149/fth.0803.276 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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