The transformation of the social institution of the family in an individualised society is tied also to other demands and expectations relating to parenthood, and fatherhood is no exception in this regard. This article focuses on fathers who have accepted the modern norm of fatherhood and have played an active role by personally caring for their children, in particular, as primary carers during their period of parental leave. The entry of fathers into a sphere our culture has traditionally defined as belonging to women necessarily raises one basic question - 'What does the experience of caring for their children mean in the minds of fathers?' - which contains an entire series of other more specific questions: How do these men interpret fatherhood? Is the experience of caring for their children reflected in how these men construct gender identities and what does this mean from the perspective of the production of gender and gender relations? Interviews based on a prepared scenario were conducted on a sample of twenty families in which the father had taken parental leave, and the resulting data was analysed with the aid of grounded theory in an effort to answer the questions outlined above. Of particular interest in the analysis are the interpretative frameworks that the actors employ in their perception of experienced reality and to what outcome or how much applies the constructivist perspective of making gender, which permits a focus on the similarities and differences between men and women and within those categories. The findings contribute to the understanding of the construction of fatherhood in this group of fathers, of gender and gender relations, and of how gender stereotypes operate on the micro level of Czech society.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.