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Fathers and parental support in everyday family life: informal support in Sweden beyond the auspices of the welfare state

Journal article
Authors Therese Wissö
Lars Plantin
Published in Families Relationships and Societies
Volume 4
Issue 2
Pages 267-280
ISSN 2046-7435
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages 267-280
Language en
Keywords fatherhood, social capital, practical and emotional support, organizational culture, work, Family Studies
Subject categories Family research


Based on a qualitative study of Swedish parents with small children, this article focuses on fathers' access to informal support in their parenting, for example in the form of practical help and emotional support. The article discusses the importance of informal social capital in parents' everyday lives. Family members play a significant role with regard to practical help with the children, while friends and particularly work colleagues are important sources of emotional support, with fathers sharing the joys and burdens of parenthood with colleagues. Discursive resources concerning involved and emotional fatherhood are thus available to the fathers interviewed in the study, and the workplace becomes an arena in which fathering practices are formed. The findings support the idea of role expansion, that having access to multiple arenas, including in this case the workplace, can serve as a positive resource for working parents.

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