Author: Yercich, Sarah
The existing literature and research on fathers in movements demonstrate differing approaches to understanding fatherhood, men's engagement in the family pre/post separation, family law, and fatherhood/fathers' rights activism. However, these approaches often fail to address the experiences of fathers, as well as fatherhood activists and movements, that exist outside the narrative created by the fathers' rights-based approaches and pro-feminist responses that currently dominate the dialogue surrounding the issues of fatherhood movements/groups and the rights of fathers. Based on this problematization of the existing frameworks for and examinations of fatherhood movements, this two-part study examined the social engagement and experiences of fathers who belong to fatherhood groups across Canada, with a strong focus on British Columbia (BC). Phase one was an investigation of the parallel fathers' rights movement (FRM) and involved fatherhood movement (IFM) Canada-wide. I conducted a qualitative content analysis of these two discourses through their online presence and activism, such as blogs, websites, and online resources. Phase two dovetailed off this analysis through in-depth interviews with fathers engaged in the FRM and IFM in BC, including a few fathers who reside outside of BC but were active in national groups engaged in this province. Together, the two phases provide an examination of fatherhood and fatherhood movements within a critical masculinities framework. This analysis highlights the privilege inherent within fatherhood groups and the exclusionary politics within these movements that resulted in the absence of the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) and marginalized fathers (e.g., fathers of low-socioeconomic status). Further, this research reflects on these fathers' beliefs that they face disadvantage in family law proceedings, and problematizes and challenges their claims of bias, discrimination, and oppression. The concluding analysis also demonstrates the privilege, power, oppression, and inclusion/exclusion within fatherhood groups, movements, and discourses overall. Ultimately, this study captured men's nuanced experiences with fatherhood and parenting pre/post separation, within the current socio-legal and familial contexts.
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Thesis advisor: Brockman, Joan
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