I have to admit that in this post, I am shamelessly copying someone’s idea by listing my publications from last year (thanks to Deborah Lupton!) and shamelessly plugging my own work. That being said, in the context of a busy start to a potentially very busy year, it feels really positive to celebrate these achievements and also to draw attention to the work that I have been doing. I want my research to be read and I really hope that it contributes to the debates that I am interested in.
So, below are my publications from 2015, with a brief synopsis of each. Enjoy!
Tarrant, A. (2015) The spatial and gendered politics of displaying family: exploring material cultures in grandfathers’ homes, Gender, Place and Culture,
This article is another analysis of the data collected for my PhD research about grandfathers and is published in a geography journal. In it, I explore the meaning that 27 grandfathers ascribed to the objects and decorations in their homes, that I conceptualise as the domestic material cultures of their homes. During interviews at their homes, the men variously referred to these objects, including cushions, mugs and wall hangings, to reveal much more about their identities and their relationships with others. Objects that carried specific messages about grandfathers were variously (dis)identified with revealing a certain ambivalence about grandfathered and becoming and being an older man. Beyond the messages displayed on the objects was also an invisible politics of placing, only accessible via interview discussions. Men’s homespaces were not always decorated to personal taste, but in relation to the needs and wants of their children and grandchildren. This revealed a deeper family politics and its role in producing particular spaces.
Tarrant, A., Featherstone, B., O’Dell, L. and Fraser, C. (2015) “You try to keep a brave face on but inside you are in bits”: Grandparent experiences of engaging with professionals in Children’s Services, Qualitative Social Work,
The arguments in this paper are based on an evaluation that I helped to conduct when I was at the Open University. The evaluation was of the advice and advocacy service provided by the charity Family Rights Group for families involved with children’s services, and took place in 2012. We found that a large number of the callers were grandparents, either seeking advice about working with children’s services and/or seeking information about their rights and entitlements when they were either caring for a child or seeking to care for a child. Many of these interviews, conducted by telephone, were highly emotional requiring great sensitivity and time. While we acknowledge the potential bias in speaking only to grandparents and only to grandparents seeking advice and support, a key finding was that many of these grandparents were often quite fearful in their associations with children’s services. There are certainly increasing pressures and constraints on social workers in the contemporary context, however we argue that social workers are respectful of the ethic of care operating in grandparent practices and recognise the multiple and often highly contradictory meanings that are attached to family.
Bartholomeaus, C. and Tarrant, A. (2015) Masculinities at the Margins of Age: What a consideration of young age and old age offers masculinities theorizing, Men and Masculinities,
It took Clare and I several years to get this paper published. We started writing it in about 2012, but because of a few hold ups with peer review, it is only now available online. We are very relieved that this has been published finally and are happy to see it in print. In this paper we combine the findings from both of our doctoral studies to develop our theories about the intersections of masculinities and age. I reflect on my findings about ageing masculinities in my study about grandfatherhood and Clare reflects on her research with school age children. Both groups, we argue, are relatively under-researched given their position in the life course. In the article we reflect o how two important themes emerged from both; the importance of caring practices and relations and the divide between intellectual pursuits and physical activity. Within these themes we see the complex ways in which young and older men, not traditionally occupying hegemonic masculinity status, variously attempt to uphold hegemonic masculinity but also transgress it via their practices as a result of age relations.
Tarrant, A., Terry, G., Ward, M., Ruxton, S., Robb, M., and Featherstone, B. (2015) Are male role models really the solution? Interrogating the ‘war on boys’ through the lens of the ‘male role model’ discourse, Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 8 (1):
This article is the first to be published from the Beyond Male Role Models study that I worked on at the Open University. I supported Michael Ward to interview some young men attending a service for ex-offenders up in Scotland. We also interviewed staff there, to question how important gender is in working with young men in welfare settings. This article is a review of the existing literature about the ‘trouble with boys’ debate from the lens of the ‘male role model discourse’. Many of the critiques about the male role model discourse are evident in the education literature, so we review this the most extensively. We also consider how masculinity has been theorised in the past and suggest that the male role discourse is based on a now out-dated and the much criticised sex role theory that does not account for diversity and plurality in performances of masculinity.
Mann, R., Tarrant, A., and Leeson, G. (2015) Grandfatherhood: Shifting Masculinities in Later Life, Sociology,
In this article I supported Robin in writing about how we theorise grandfatherhood and ageing masculinities. Robin already had an article in place that needed some development so the empirical material presented is from his own study about grandfathers. This was a great opportunity to co-author a paper and to develop my own thinking about ageing masculinities. In the article, we argue that grandfatherhood is a time when men are challenged to maintain connections with hegemonic masculinity in the context of changing life and family circumstances. There is some lovely data in this paper about men’s relationships with their grandchildren and their reflections on their own identities.
Tarrant, A. (2015) Domestic ageing masculinities and grandfathering, in Gorman-Murray, A. and Hopkins, P. (eds.) Masculinities and Place, Surrey, Ashgate. Chapter 15, pp. 241-255.
This chapter makes very similar, related arguments to those made in the Sociology paper above, but is written for a geography audience. It offers a contemporary, alternative perspective to men’s experiences of the home later in life, through an analysis of the narratives of men who are grandfathers. Basing arguments on qualitative research data obtained from 31 semi-structured interviews with men who define themselves as grandfathers, the chapter argues that grandfathering is a space in which men reconfigure notions of traditional masculinity, including those that construct fatherhood. In this respect, the home, and the familial relations situated there, become a site of resistance and contestation for some older men.