Domestic fathers and the Victorian parental role

Gordon, E. and Nair, G. (2006) Domestic fathers and the Victorian parental role. Women's History Review, 15(4), pp. 551-559. (doi: 10.1080/09612020500530588)

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Discourses of motherhood and domesticity played an important role in structuring middle‐class women's lives and identities in the nineteenth century. However, it has become increasingly clear that how the idealised role of motherhood was conceived, interpreted and experienced varied enormously. Although Victorian motherhood is usually viewed as being constituted by the private realm, there was also a public dimension to this ostensibly private role. Victorian motherhood was complexly constituted and diversely interpreted and experienced. Similarly, fatherhood encompassed greater diversity than has often been supposed. Fathers of the early and mid Victorian periods conformed only in some respects to stereotypes of the stern paterfamilias: they could also be tender, caring and informal in their relations with their children. The authors take issue with a view which, while agreeing with this picture of mid‐nineteenth century fathers, sees men of the last decades of the century withdrawing from domesticity and deriving less of their identity from their paternal role.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Professor Eleanor
Authors: Gordon, E., and Nair, G.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Women's History Review

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