By Gillian Ranson
Many fathers at the moment are offering hands-on, engaged care to infants and kids. This booklet attracts on observations of, and interviews with, caregiving fathers, in addition to analyses of fathers' memoirs and on-line blogs, to envision fathers' caregiving paintings as embodied perform and as lived adventure.
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Additional info for Fathering, Masculinity and the Embodiment of Care
In a vivid account of the training and lifestyle regimes boxers undertake in hopes of achieving success in the ring, Wacquant demonstrates the need to see boxers as holders of and even entrepreneurs in bodily capital of a particular kind; and the boxing gym in which they spend much of their waking time as a social machinery designed to convert this ‘abstract’ bodily capital into pugilistic capital, that is, to impart to the fighter’s body a set of abilities and tendencies liable to produce value in the field of professional boxing in the form of recognition, titles and income streams.
But the point of the exercise I am describing here is to demonstrate that (most) men’s bodies are just as capable of caregiving as of boxing (indeed, in many cases they may be better suited to caregiving than boxing), and that caregiving, like boxing, is shaped by embodied resources (and constraints), and requires bodily skills that are learned through practice. So it is necessary to consider the body capital that fathers, like boxers, bring to the job they are doing, and the body techniques they need to learn to make them more competent.
I do so here by drawing on the conversations I recorded 39 40 Fathering, Masculinity and the Embodiment of Care and the photographs I took during my visits, and the field notes I wrote after each one. Body capital Discussions of body capital build on the work of Bourdieu, as I noted in Chapter 1. Capital constitutes ‘the set of actually usable resources and powers’ (Bourdieu, 1984: 114) bodies provide; different bodies have different capacities and, therefore, different potentials. When it comes to caregiving of the hands-on, physically engaged kind, mothers are conventionally reckoned to bring more body capital to bear; gestation, childbirth and lactation are biological, capital-generating advantages that are generally considered to trump anything that fathers’ bodies can provide.
Fathering, Masculinity and the Embodiment of Care by Gillian Ranson