The Two Worlds of Father Politics in the Republic of Ireland: Swedish versus American Influences

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Title: The Two Worlds of Father Politics in the Republic of Ireland: Swedish versus American Influences
Authors: Rush, Michael (Michael Anthony)
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Date: Apr-2009
Abstract: Abstract  This paper contributes to the field of comparative research on fatherhood practice and policy. Specifically, the paper promotes knowledge of welfare state variations by providing a theoretical model of 'two worlds' of father politics, as exemplified by the USA and Sweden.  By adopting a historical approach, the analysis identifies a long-standing divergence between neo-patriarchal trends in the USA and de-patriarchalisation trends in Sweden. In addition, the study finds that neo-patriarchal perspectives on fatherhood have amplified under the American neo-liberal social policy paradigm of welfare to work.  Ireland as other countries is increasingly open to neo-liberal trends in welfare state development. In this study, analysis of Irish social policy debates identifies a shift in the importance of fatherhood research to father and family policies. By studying the historical process in Ireland through key policy documents, the paper illustrates how policy preferences are legitimised through a process of drawing upon selected national and international fatherhood research findings. A key finding is that Irish social policy has consistently failed to consider the Swedish alternative of gender egalitarianism, family pluralism and generous parental leave entitlements.  Instead, what hold favour in Ireland are American conservative neo-patriarchal influences that seek to protect patriarchal familism within marriage against social and demographic change.
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Applied Social Science
Keywords: FathersSocial policyWelfare stateChild development
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Research Collection

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