Just over a year ago I was invited by Sara Arber and Virpi Timonen to write a book chapter for a new book they planned to edit, to be published by Policy Press. The book is called ‘Contemporary Grandparenting: Changing family relationships in global contexts’ and will be published officially in May 2012. Today I am really excited to find out that that chapter has been officially confirmed and here is the finalised version of the book cover! What do you think?
I agreed to write a chapter in this book because it is so timely and fits well with my research interests. The aim of the book is to recognise the growing importance of grandparenthood in contemporary global contexts and to explore how these contexts shape and frame a role that is constantly changing, from a broadly sociological perspective.
Interestingly and while I don’t agree with the lack of state support grandparents and other older people get, an article discussing the importance of changing attitudes to ageing and intergenerational ties was reported only yesterday here. Iain Duncan Smith at first puts forward a great argument about the support older people and grandparents provide to their communities, suggesting we need to challenge ageism in our society. He then destroys his argument in one fail swoop in suggesting that they do these jobs so the state doesn’t have to…?!
The reference for my chapter is on the publications page of this blog site but it is entitled ‘Grandfathering: the construction of new identities and masculinities’. It presents empirical findings from my PhD research and reflects on how men who are grandfathers engage in practices with their grandchildren. My analysis suggests that these practices and activities represent the men’s different ways of being a man at a time in their lives when they may be considered to be losing their gender; grandfathering shapes new masculinities and identities for the men. I also tease out the influences of the men’s family contexts on their role, with a particular focus on divorce and family fragmentation. This evidently impacts the men’s intergenerational relations with grandchildren and the findings suggest that the central generation i.e. the men’s children significantly influence the role that men can adopt, and consequently how they perform their identities.
The timing for this news couldn’t be better and has been an excellent confidence builder and motivator for this year’s AcBoWriMo, an online community academic writing event I am involved in during the month of November. It has also encouraged me to think more about writing my own book based on my PhD research to build upon the journal publications I already have…best get back to the strategy then!!!