ERIC Number: ED454985
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-14
Reference Count: N/A
How Urban Fathers Represent the Transition to Fathering: A Discourse Analysis of Fathering Narratives.
Gadsden, Vivian; Wortham, Stanton; Wojcik, Teresa
Noting that researchers rarely ask urban fathers about their perspectives and choices regarding fatherhood, this pilot study examined the experiences of urban fathers, focusing on their views of the challenges of fatherhood and how they accounted for both their irresponsible and their promising fathering behaviors; the study's larger goal will be uncovering factors that enable young urban fathers to become involved with their children. Participating in the study were 15 fathers from Indianapolis who were participating in a voluntary fathering program. Data were gathered by means of semi-structured, in-depth interviews, which included questions about barriers to employment and interaction with their children. Fathers had an opportunity to tell stories about their childhoods, relations with their parents, their relationship with the mother(s) of their children, and their activities with their children. Narrative analysis focused on the patterns of voices used to characterize intergenerational learning/relations and transformative events. Findings indicated that most of the fathers reported that they are trying to break out of the intergenerational pattern of father absence, with this effort motivated by some transformative event such as absence of the child or incarceration. They are constructing new or different identities for themselves around fathering, and their own development, education, and sense of responsibility. They struggle to rework their positions with respect to the street, the home, and the system, to make the transition from biological father to committed parent. Fathers represented a typical male developmental progression from the mother's home to the street. The court system was presented as hostile, racist, and irrational. (Contains 14 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A