How does the decision to become a parent unfold for heterosexual men? Is becoming a father a 'decision' at all or a series of events? These questions are the starting point for this critical book, in which the authors unravel the social and interpersonal processes Ė shaped by deeply entrenched socio-cultural norms Ė that come to bear on parenthood decision-making in the South African context.
Drawing on the narratives of white, Afrikaans women and men, Men's Pathways to Parenthood uses an innovative discursive method to illuminate the roles masculinity, whiteness, class, and heteronormativity play in these accounts. Men's Pathways to Parenthood addresses an under-researched topic in gender studies Ė namely, men and reproductive decision-making Ė and will be an important resource for scholars in gender studies, sexualities, and reproductive health, as well as those interested in innovative approaches to discursive research.
This book provides a sophisticated analysis in the under-researched area of the part men play in reproductive 'decisions'. It offers valuable insights through the innovative synthesising of the theorisation of gender performativity with a narrative-discursive methodological approach. This synthesis leads to a persuasive, rich and nuanced account of the data that enables links to be made between macro and micro contexts, and offers a substantial consideration of power, as well as the potential for change. What is particularly telling is the analysis of 'noise' used to conceal the 'veiled silences' that surrounded an inability to construct stories of choice in male reproductive decisions. This book makes an excellent contribution to the literature in gender studies, sexualities, reproduction and critical psychology.
SALLY JOHNSON, Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychology, University of Bradford
This book deals with the neglected topic of men's roles in decisions about having children. It contributes significantly to building a knowledge base around the intricacies and complexities (including the silences) associated with male parenthood and decision-making in the South African context and beyond. The work showcases innovative critical methodology, developing performativity theory, discursive psychology, and narrative methods. The authors provide a nuanced and compelling analysis that highlights the roles of changing gender norms, whiteness, and heteronormativity in shaping their research participants' accounts. The book presents valuable findings that will be relevant to researchers and practitioners studying families and reproduction outside of hetero-patriarchal norms.
CARIEN LUBBE-DE BEER Chair: Gender and Sexuality Division, Psychological Society of South Africa