Heterosexual men and parenthood decision making in South Africa: attending to the invisible norm

SOURCE: Journal of Family Issues
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2013
TITLE AUTHOR(S): T.Morison
KEYWORDS: DECISION-MAKING, HETEROSEXUALITY, MEN, PARENTHOOD
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7878

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Abstract

This article reports on a qualitative study about male involvement in parenthood decision making (i.e., decisions related to becoming a first-time parent) in which the focus was on White, heterosexual men. Little is known about the roles and involvement of these men in decision-making processes. They comprise an invisible norm in research as hetero-normative assumptions about parenthood cause them to be overlooked. This oversight exacerbated by the pervasive problem perspective in social science forms the research rationale. Conducted within a gender-relational framework, the study included 23 heterosexual, White South African women and men with a view to exploring how gender constructions influence this process and affect the gender power relations. Interviews with participants were analyzed using a narrative discursive method and the findings show how an assumption of childbearing shaped the data and may have implications for female male power relations in reproductive partnerships.