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Fathering in the city : diverse masculinities and care giving practices in New York City

Gallais, Catherine


Catherine Gallais


Mark, 1949 Johnson

Rachel Alsop


This thesis is about primary caregiving fathers in New York City. It aims to explore the changing nature of masculinities in relation to fatherhood. Starting with the premise that not all masculinities are equal, it asks whether, and if yes, how, differential access to resources and choices and discourses as men is reproduced in the realm of parenting, shaping their lives and experiences as fathers.

The literature on primary caregiving fathers is emerging, where sociological studies have focused on white, heterosexual, middle-class, married, stay-at-home fathers. Moreover, analyses often privilege one axis of differentiation –gender–, when other identity positions are often relegated to second position, thus obscuring the nuances and complexity of the men’s experiences. Using an ethnographic approach, I spent 11 months in 2016 following 15 fathers from different backgrounds, meeting with them and interviewing them, meeting their families and friends, meeting other fathers along the way, as well as interviewing 5 professionals working with fathers. This thesis combines men and masculinities and intersectionality theories to draw attention to the social inequalities that exist between men.

My research findings show that masculinities inform the kinds of father the men are. Masculinities are relational, they are performances undertaken in particular contexts, and intersect with other social categories, such as class, race, sexuality and faith, shaping their fathering experiences, the meanings assigned to fatherhood, and their experiences as men. I argue that race, as an organizing system of difference, is the most important axis of differentiation in parenting for these men. It has profound implications on the men’s lived experiences and on the ways in which they are fathers to their children.


Gallais, C. (2019). Fathering in the city : diverse masculinities and care giving practices in New York City. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sociology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Criminology and Sociology, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2019


Thesis (3.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 Gallais, Catherine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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