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Kirsi Erranta and Johanna Moisander, Aalto University School of Business Published in Organization Studies April 2011 vol. 32 no. 4, 509-526 doi: 10.1177/0170840611400293

ABSTRACT Based on a case study, this paper elaborates on the psychological regimes of truth that organize and regulate male parenting and partly constitute the conditions of possibility for male identity and subjectivity both as fathers and employees. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the discursive-cultural constraints that western managers and employeesmales in particularmay face when trying to pursue a better work/life balance. Based on an empirical analysis of expert literature on male parenting, the paper argues that prevalent psychological regimes of truth about fathers and fathering do not necessarily render enactable the sorts of identities that enable both men and women to achieve a better work/life balance. Keywords: governmentality, psy-knowledge, identity work, ethics, fatherhood

INTRODUCTION One cannot care for self without knowledge. The care for self is of course knowledge of self but it is also the knowledge of a certain number of rules of conduct or of principles which are at the same time truths and regulations. To care for self is to fit ones self out with these truths. That is where ethics is linked to the game of truth. (Foucault 1988: 5) Fatherhood and male parenting have recently been discussed and problematized in many Western countries. Parental abdication by men has been viewed as a root cause of many of the ills of society, and unequal sharing of childcare by men and women has been identified as a hindrance to work-life balance for women. As a result, measures have been taken, both by governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations of the third sector, to encourage men to rethink their identities as fathers and to take more responsibilities in the home, particularly in childcare (see e.g. Plantenga and Remery 2005). In many contemporary organizations, however, the male manager is faced with an ethical challenge. On the one hand he is expected to be a New Man (Linstead and Thomas 2002) and a Balanced Individual (Merilinen, Tienari, Thomas and Davies 2004), who spends more time with his children and shoulders some of the domestic burden to allow his female partner to pursue a career of her own. On the other hand, he needs to earn his place in the organization, on a daily basis, by showing that he is committed, constantly available and willing to work long hours. In the existing literature, managers have been observed to solve this dilemma by constructing their identities as fathers and managers in terms of the discourse of male breadwinning (Linstead and Thomas 2002; Thomas and Linstead 2002). The malebreadwinner discourse, which emphasizes the responsibility of a good father to provide for his family financially, can be used not only as a justification for making sacrifices in ones private (family) life but also as a confirmation of being a committed and dedicated manager with an entrepreneurial spirit. In such contexts, the identity of the parent and partner may be subsumed under the greedy discourses of management and organization (Thomas and Linstead 2002: 88) It comes as no surprise, then, that in the everyday practice of families and organizations the prevalent ways of combining work and family life still remain gendered (Pocock 2005; Smithson and Stokoe 2005). While the option of taking a short parental leave at the time of a childs birth is becoming increasingly popular, longer-term care options seem to be ignored by the vast majority of male employees (Plantenga and Remery 2005). Overall, traditional western norms for motherhood and fatherhood seem to be resistant to change. As Barbara Pocock (2005: 43) has put it, cultural norms remain firmly attached to the idea of maternal carers, proper mothers who are available to care generously, as well as proper workers who are male, full-time and care-free. From a Foucauldian critical management perspective (Brewis 1996; Du Gay, Salaman and Rees 1996; Brewis 2001; Halford and Leonard 2005; Ezzamel and Willmott 2008), 2

we argue in this paper that to increase our understanding of these enduring cultural patterns and practices, there is a need to focus attention to the forms of knowledge and truth that organize male parenting and partly constitute the conditions of possibility for male identity and subjectivity both as fathers and employees (Foucault 1983; Butler 1990). Scientific knowledge and expertiseor rather the discourses and regimes of truth they involveare not only sources of authority, legitimacy and credibility for policy measures but also provide individual citizens, families and organizations with appropriate means, ends and justifications for constructing their identities and managing their environments. As part of a whole network of practices and regimes of government (Foucault 1991a; Dean 1999), expert knowledge on fathering thus fabricates, makes available and suggests particular versions of male subjectivity as fathers, providing ethical repertoires and cultural practices to both men and women for performing their gender identities and roles as parents and employeesand for combining the demands of work with family life. In this paper, we set out to study this knowledge and the regimes of truth about fathers and male parenting it gives rise to and sustains. By regimes of truth we mean a 'general politics' of truth about fathers (Foucault 1980: 131). This entails a set of discourses and rationalities that are accepted and made to function as true, and which give salience to particular categories, divisions, classifications and identities in the representation of fathers and male parenting, thus rendering fatherhood intelligible and enactable in particular ways (Rose 1999b: 29). Drawing on the literature on analytics of government (Donzelot 1979; Foucault 1991a; Dean 1999; Rose 1999a), we study the ways in which male parenting is problematizedrendered simultaneously troubling and intelligiblein a set of educational materials and policy texts on fatherhood. As we shall explain below, this material represents a case of societal problematization of male parenting that is essentially based on psy-knowledge (Rose 1996; Rose 1999b). By psy-knowledge we mean the complex discourses produced mainly by psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and other psy-professionals, who are involved in the conduct of human conduct through knowledge of human subjectivity. More specifically, we focus on the ways in which the subject of the male parent is made up (Hacking 1986) in the texts, and the forms of cultural identity that thus open up for men as parents. At the level of organization theory, the paper contributes to the body of literature on the discursive construction of professional identities and on the management of employee subjectivities (Du Gay et al. 1996; Fournier 1998; Halford and Leonard 2005). While much of the existing literature has focused on elaborating the ways in which individual organizational members discursively construct their identities as professionals, partners and parents in interview talk (Linstead and Thomas 2002; Thomas and Linstead 2002; Merilinen et al. 2004; Kuhn 2006) we shift the focus to the discursive resources and conditions of possibility that expert literature and psy-knowledge offer for this identity work and for employees as ethical subjects. We argue that this perspective is important and offers new insights because psyknowledgeswhich address questions about who we are, how we could improve 3

ourselves and how we should conduct our livesplay an important role in contemporary liberal forms of government and in the currently widespread styles of management that are based on improving the capacity of individuals to exercise authority over their own conduct (Rose 1996; Rose 1999a; Rose 1999b). Moreover, in many organizational contexts of today, the exercise of authority appears to take forms that are therapeutic in nature; they are based on helping individuals to understand their actions and to regulate their own conduct towards directions that are in line with both their own interest and the corporate strategy (Du Gay et al. 1996; Fournier 1998). As this type of management is based on making up particular ethical subjects (Foucault 1985)subjects who define and regulate themselves according to a set of moral codes and who constitute themselves as subjects of moral conductit is important to study the discursive resources and possibilities that psy-knowledge offers for this sort of identity work. GOVERNMENT OF MEN AND FATHERING The interpretive framework that guides our analysis is based on a theoretical and methodological perspective that is often referred to as an analytics of government or governmentality (e.g. Dean 1999; Rose 1999b). It examines the conditions of possibility and intelligibility for specific ways of seeking to act upon the conduct of others, or oneself, to achieve certain ends (Rose 1999b: 19). It is concerned with specific regimes of practices, more or less organized ways we think about, practice, and reform such things as fathering for example (Dean 1999: 21). It focuses on specific regimes of government, the ways in which people are governed and govern themselves within different regimes of practices, and the conditions under which these regimes of government emerge, operate and are transformed (Dean 1999: 23; Rose 1999b: 19-22). From this perspective, government refers not so much to the political or administrative structures of the modern state but, rather, to the conduct of conduct (Foucault 1991a). Mitchell Dean (1999: 11) defines it as any more or less calculated and rational activity, undertaken by multiplicity of authorities and agencies, employing a variety of techniques and forms of knowledge, that seeks to shape conduct by working through our desires, aspirations, interests and beliefs, for definite but shifting ends and with a diverse set of relatively unpredictable consequences, effects and outcomes. It is thus a form of activity that is geared at shaping, guiding or affecting in some way the conduct of some person or a group of persons (Gordon 1991: 2). Government thus operates particularly through assembling and proposing particular forms of subjectivity with which people conform to or resist. It works through peoples desires, aspirations, interests, beliefs and everyday practices by suggesting particular life-styles and forms of being, e.g. the identity of the father and appropriate ways of performing that identity. It is based on improving the capacity of individual citizens to exercise authority over their own liveshelping them to understand their own actions and to regulate their own conduct. Governing people, in this sense, is not so much a disciplinary technique or way to force people to do what somebody else wants by producing docile subjects. The aim is rather to produce active citizens and ethical subjects who not only conform to and 4

internalize specific rules but voluntarily govern themselves to achieve specific objectives. From this perspective, it is interesting to study the ways in which these subjects are called up to problematize or question their own conduct and work towards good, virtuous, appropriate, and responsible conduct. In contemporary western societies, scientific knowledge and expertise play a key role in regimes of government through which people are governed and govern themselves (Rose 1996; Dean 1999; Rose 1999a). The activity of government is made possible and constrained by what can be thought and what cannot be thought at any particular moment in our history. Knowledge, or the specific regimes of truth that this knowledge sustains and gives rise to, defines and renders knowable and thinkable the objects of government in particular ways, defining what is normal and pathological (in the functioning of human beings for example) and thus sets the aims and objectives of practice. As Mitchell Dean (1999:18) has argued, people govern themselves and others according to what they take to be true about what they are, what aspects of their existence should be worked upon, how, with what means and to what ends. Knowledge and expertise provide them with such an understanding, thus giving both an intellectual technology and authority for their practices of government. Psychology and psychologists have long played an important role in establishing norms for parenting as well as for normal and desirable childhood development and behavior (Rose 1999a). They have provided not only norms and standards for parenting and child development but also specific forms of rationality, facts, concepts, and explanatory logics for making sense of parenting and family life. These psychological vocabularies and rationalities have been widely disseminated not only through the education of social and health care workers, family therapist, counselors, and parents, but also through popular literature and mass media. Through what Rose calls the psy-saturation of popular culture and the everyday experience of individuals, psychological languages, techniques, authorities and judgments have come to shape the contemporary ethics, the texture of peoples intimate dealings with themselves and with their closest companions (Rose 1999a). In sum, government entails not only relations of power and authority but also issues of truth, self and identity (ethos). In the following sections we therefore set out to study the ethical government of the self (Foucault 1985; Dean 1999: 17) through which men are governed as fathers, focusing particularly on the discursive practicesthe veridical practices that are concerned with the production of truththrough which the regimes of truth about fathering (i.e. what passes as true knowledge of fathering) are produced and sustained in psy-knowledge (Foucault 1991b: 75). This is important, we argue, because such knowledge of fathering, and the images of fathers and mothers that they give rise to, may well come to lay claim to all that can be said about parenting. These images may thus become final statements of how fathers and mothers naturally are as parents, thus leaving individuals to relate their experiences to such images, rather than themselves making images which conform to their own concrete experiences (Rossiter 1988: 17).

THE CASE STUDY AND EMPIRICAL MATERIALS Our empirical analysis is based on an instrumental case study (Stake 2003) carried out using Foucauldian discourse analysis (Howarth 2000; Kendall and Wickham 2003; Ezzamel and Willmott 2008) and based on expert literature (non-fiction) and documentary texts on fatherhood. We study a case of societal problematization of male parentinghow the government of fathers and fathering is called into questionin Finland at the turn of the millennium. This problematization is based on specific psychological knowledge of human subjectivity and it exemplifies the previously discussed psychologization of government (Rose 1996; Rose 1999a) that has taken place in contemporary western societies. The case thus gives us a possibility to explore the ways in which fathers and male parenting are rendered intelligible in particular ways through psychological knowledge, and to gain a better understanding of the regimes of truth that this knowledge gives rise to and sustains. As empirical materials we use six professional texts on male parenting and fatherhood, published in Finland during the years 1998-2001. This dataset was obtained by searching several national bibliographies and databases for basic keywords associated with fathering. The following selected texts, which represent expert but non-academic literature on fathers and fathering, were analyzed (see Appendix 1 for full reference information): 1. A green papertype committee report on fatherhood published by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Green paper) 2. Two conference reports on fathers and male parenting by the Nordic Council of Ministers (Proceedings A), and by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (a national NGO promoting the wellbeing of children) (Proceedings B) 3. A guide book for health care professionals on male parenting published by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Guide for professionals) 4. A general text book on male parenting and fatherhood (Text book) 5. A popular child care and parenting book for fathers (Parenting book) These particular texts were chosen because they represent and fruitfully illustrate the psyknowledge based societal problematization of male parenting in Finland at the turn of the millennium that constitutes our case. The books and reports that we analyze are representative of psy-knowledge (Rose 1996) on male parenting in Finnish society in that time period. Even though the authors of these books and reports represent various institutions and disciplines of education, health care and social work, all of the texts seek to establish authority and an ethical basis from psychological knowledge and expertise on child and adult development. The analysis is carried out using the basic principles and procedures of Foucauldian discourse analysis (see e.g. Howarth 2000; Kendall and Wickham 2003; Ezzamel and Willmott 2008). From this perspective, social action is typically studied and rendered 6

understandable by reconstructing the symbolic structures of knowledge that enable and constrain social agents to interpret and make sense of the world around them in particular ways, and to behave in corresponding ways. It is based on the assumption that power works through language and discourse, constituting a matrix of understanding, which produces what is considered 'true' and 'normal' and thus helps to set rules, norms, and conventions by which social life is ordered and governed. Available discourses, therefore, guide and constrain the way that fathers and fathering can be meaningfully discussed and reasoned about, and define acceptable and intelligible ways of conduct with respect to it. These discourses are not, of course, translated into the day-to-day practices of parents in any straightforward and simple manner but are continuously contested, negotiated and changed through social practice and interaction. Accordingly, in analyzing the data, we look into the discursive practices through which male parenting is problematized, represented and made sense of in the texts. In doing so, our aim is to identify and elaborate on the veridical practices (Foucault 1991b: 75) through which particular regimes of truth or rationality about male parenting are produced and sustained in the empirical context of our study. The Foucauldian theory on ethical government of the self discussed above provides a way of drawing attention to particular aspects of the texts, helping us elaborate on the distinctive ways in which truths about fathers are formulated through particular concepts and vocabularies (Dean 1998: 192; Howarth 2000: 141). PSY-DISCOURSES OF MALE PARENTING In Finland, the knowledge and expertise on male parenting tends to be organized around two competing regimes of truth or rationality that can be observed in the texts on fathering that we analyze in this study (Vuori 2001; Erranta 2005; Vuori 2009). These rationalities share the same psychological vocabulary but represent the field to be governed somewhat differently, identifying and defining different ethical principles, explanatory logics, facts, problems, and ends for the government of fathers and male parenting. We have labeled these two different ways of representing, talking and reasoning about male parenting manly fathering and involved fathering. These two competing parenting discourses are much in line with the two recent currents in fatherhood politics discussed in contemporary sociology of the family: the one seeking to reclaim reputed rights of fathers by re-establishing patriarchal authority in the nuclear family, and the other aiming to reform male parenting in the name of gender equality and wellbeing of families (Gavanas 2004). Both of these discourses at least implicitly emphasize the importance of family for social order. The broader socio-political and cultural context in which male parenting becomes an object of societal problematization, and where the expert knowledge that we analyze is produced, may be described as a Nordic welfare state. According to this type of regime, the public sector has a fundamental responsibility for providing universal educational, medical, and other welfare services and social benefits to all citizens in the name of social justice and gender equality (e.g. Esping-Andersen 1999). Ever since the 1970s, the 7

Finnish government has taken specific policy measures to support first the dual earner model, and later shared parenting and father care, in an attempt to promote womens active participation in the labor market and to change the gendered practices of workfamily reconciliation (Lammi-Taskula 2006; Vuori 2009). There are extensive parental and childcare leave schemes, for example, which are equally available to men and women. Despite these measures, however, Finnish men have not been particularly eager to take advantage of these opportunities to care for their children (Lammi-Taskula 2006). In the following sections we discuss these two discourses of fathering, describing the forms of male subjectivity and male parenting that the discourses give rise to and sustain. First, we focus on the truths and forms of knowledge through which fatherhood is problematized in these discourses. Then we analyze the forms of ethical subject that the discourses mobilize, focusing on the ways in which fathers are called to problematize their own conduct and work toward a good and virtuous fatherhood. Manly fathering 1. The increasing number of divorces and single-parent families is indicative of the fragile nature of fatherhood and of some sort of a marginalization, which has resulted in some women starting to think that there is no need for a father in the everyday life of the children at all. Welfare state has made it possible for a woman to get by with children, financially and partly also socially, without a man and a father. (Green paper, 45.) [F]atherhood is the most important of the tasks that society has given to a man. It helps men to obey the laws, be good citizens, and take others needs into consideration. What is remarkable is that fatherhood helps the man to channel his aggressions and use them for social ends. Second, fatherhood makes the man work for the best of his children. The father provides his children with physical safety and various material benefits. The father contributes to the development of the identity, personality, morals and competence of children, and passes on to them his own values and culture. (Parenting book, 21.) Nowadays there is a great dearth of fathers [] Fathering has been regarded as the ultimate stronghold of conservatism and patriarchy, the destruction of which is the first step towards true [gender] equality. [] There has been a [conspiracy] towards men and fathers to make them soft, equal [with women and mothers], men who do not have the balls [to stand on their own]. (Parenting book, 12.)



Manly fathering would seem historically to be the earlier of the two discursive fields that organize contemporary regimes of practices concerning male parenting in Finland. It sustains a neo-patriarchal and moralist form of rationality in the sense that it builds on a patriarchal vision of family life, and that it seems to be at war against gender nonconformity. The model image of a father is a man who stands his ground as the moral authority and the master of the household, ideally organized according to the model of male breadwinner and female homemaker. He is the biological father of the child, the 8

head of the family, and a real man who has the balls to set the limits or to impose needed discipline on the family, but in a responsible manner. The main source of concern in the discourse of manly fathering is the weakening of the marriage as the basis of family and the fragmentation of the safety net that family once provided. High divorce rates and the increasing number of single mothers constitute a threat to the institution of the nuclear family and to its capacity to socialize, provide welfare, security and care for members of society (Erranta 2006). The discourse constructs a world where the problems of the young are constantly increasing as the result of inadequate fathering and the loss of parental responsibility in the education, supervision and care of children. With a conservative, moralistic tone, it warns against the exceedingly wide defamilialization of responsibilities (Esping-Andersen 1999), i.e. devolving responsibilities for welfare, health and mutual care upon the state. It rather emphasizes the role of families in taking care of these services, emphasizing that men need to seriously reflect upon their commitment and personal engagement in the education and socialization of their children. As a solution to the concern for the crisis of the nuclear family and parenthood, the discourse of manly fathering sets out to define specifically male modes of domesticity and parenting. In doing this, it draws from the neo-patriarchal, pro-marriage rhetoric of the Fatherhood Responsibility Movement, mobilized particularly in the US (see Gavanas 2004). It claims that fathers have become marginalized and the family feminized and thus seeks to re-establish the indispensability of men in families. It therefore emphasizes gender differences and constitutes fatherhood as specifically male and masculine form of parenting in differentiation from the female forms of family involvement. Truths about manly fathers and healthy families 4. It is late afternoon and the father comes home from work. He settles down in the house and observes how the mother feeds the baby, changes the diapers and washes the bottom. When the child is sated and satisfied, the father takes him and starts to play. The babys face is lit up, his eyebrows rise and his mouth forms a smile something exciting is about to come! The father does not talk too much but hops, sways, and bounces the baby in a rhythmic way. The play is accompanied by the fathers babbling and the childs screaming mingled with exhilaration and fear. The mother warns that the child may bring up, which is what he probably will do (Parenting book, 99.) [...] we agree with the psychoanalytic comprehension that fathers and mothers form different bonds to the baby. The sexual difference between man and woman, father and mother, is inevitable. Fathers do not experience pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. (Guide for professionals, 5.)


In the discourse of manly fathering, psychological theories of child development form the core of the regime of truth that defines the scope and limits of intelligible fathering and mothering. In the empirical materials we analyzed, these theories include the canons of developmental psychology, such as John Bowlbys attachment theory, Sigmund Freuds theories on sexuality, and Margaret Mahlers theory of the separation-individuation 9

process. In these depictions, the unit of analysis is always the heterosexual nuclear family, the triangle of the child, mother and father. In addition to the classical theories of developmental psychology, this discourse also makes use of the more recent American literature on fatherlessness (e.g. Blankenhorn 1995), which sets out to demonstrate the association of father absence with various detrimental effects and destructive outcomes for children and adolescents. Overall, grounded on this knowledge, the discourse of manly fathering sustains essentialist notions of gender difference, emphasizing the natural biological differences between male and female parenting that translate into gender-specific tasks and capabilities for both men and women as parents. Drawing selectively form psychoanalytic literature and evolutionary psychology, it represents the mother as the first object of psychological attachment and the primary caretaker of the child. As the extracts above illustrate, manly fathering represents men and women as inevitably different biological and psychological creatures. They develop psychologically different relationships with the infant-child and thus have gender-specific roles as parents. As the person who has given birth to the child, the mother is naturally responsible for meeting the basic needs of the infant by offering nutrition and physical closeness. The task of the father, for his part, is to meet some higher needs of the childto provide economic security and recreation, as well as paternal authority and advice, for instance. In constructing the identity of the father in this way, the discourse of manly fathering reifies the terms wherein the divisions between men and women as well as masculine and feminine are treated as absolute and unchanging not only in families but also in organizational life (Knights and Kerfoot 2004: 432). Manly fathering identifies three developmental tasks of infancy and early childhood, in which the role of the father is crucial. First, the father helps the child to achieve autonomous and ambitious subjectivity and emotional independence from the mother. Second, he sets the rules and regulations for socially acceptable behavior and teaches the child morally responsible citizenship. And third, he shows how a man correctly performs his gender and sexual identity. Through these psychological facts the father is constituted as the producer of normal, heterosexual children. Compared with the caring activities typically expected of the mother, these three parental functions assigned specifically to the father arguably take a relatively non-active and primarily symbolic form of being a fatherrecognizing oneself and being recognized by others as the father in the family. While the task of teaching children rules and certain masculine skills might well involve some concrete, time-consuming activities, the main agent in these activities still is the developing child, to whom the father is an object of identification, above all. In the discourse of manly fathering, male parenting thus would seem to be constructed as caring about (Tronto 1989). In other words, it takes the form of an abstract intellectual concern and loving of the child that does not necessarily demand constant or regular concrete involvement, except breadwinning outside the home. Consequently, the discourse of manly fathering tends to prescribe versions of masculine after-work or weekend fathering and recreational parenting for mene.g. frisky play10

mates and sports coaches as in Extract 4 above (Linstead and Thomas 2002; Thomas and Linstead 2002). The maleness of fathers family involvement is thus constructed in terms of breadwinning, discipline, play, role modelling and protection, which are viewed as particularly male and masculine modes of parenting, and in complementary relation to motherhood and femininity (Gavanas 2004: 253). The mother gives care and the father supports the family. In constructing the identity of the father in this way, the discourse of manly fathering thus seems to sustain the gender stereotypes that characterize male managers as professionals without caring responsibilities and their female colleagues primarily as mothers and not as competent and loyal professionals (Kugelberg 2006: 158). The morality of manly fathering 6. The personality or masculinity of the father does not need to change. On the contrary, it is precisely [the personality and masculinity of the father] that is in the highest demand. Nevertheless, this does not free a man from contemplating the quality and sufficiency of his fatherhood. An excellent way to get answers is to ask children. (Parenting book, 38.)

As the fathers primary field of action is at his workplacehis task at home being to occupy the symbolic position of the fatherhe is not necessarily required to engage in ethical work by inventing, developing, and promoting new forms of subjectivity. A mans fatherhood or masculinity does not have to be problematized because it is largely biologically determined. What is imperative, however, it that the father offers himself, his masculinity and personality, as a role model for his children. On the whole, the discourse of manly fathering represents a code-oriented morality (Foucault 1985), in the sense that it is based on conforming to a set of familistic values and obeying rules of action that are recommended to fathers by various prescriptive agencies. While in the publications of many of the grass roots advocacy groups these rules are usually clear and explicit, in the expert literature on fathering, the moral code is rather abstract and implicit, and mainly endorsed through the knowledge of child development. Nevertheless, in the discourse of manly fathering, a set of criteria for appropriate ways of being a father can be identified. For example, masculine is the obligatory expressive attribute of the father. And masculinity is constituted in discrete and asymmetrical opposition to feminine and mother. Identities such as feminine men and feminine fathers, cases where gender does not follow from sex, are unintelligible and thus do not, and cannot, exist. While men and women may have both feminine and masculine traits, fathers are unquestionably masculine and mothers are feminine. In one of the texts we analyzed, for example, it is claimed that in the case of a [feminine] soft dad, the woman loses a man and the child loses a father. The discourse of manly fathering thus effectively reproduces and sustains a social order that Judith Butler has referred to as the heterosexual matrix (Butler 1990). The way in which the father is invited or incited to recognize his moral obligations is based on his group membership as a father, and by empathetically responding to the wish of a helpless child who needs a father. In the texts that we analyzed, for example, this 11

wish was represented by crafting emotional narratives of little father hungry boys at child psychiatric hospitals and by presenting adult mens autobiographical accounts of their painful childhood memories of absent fathers. Through such elements, the reader may recognize himself as obliged to take his place in the natural order of the generational chain, and act as a father for the sake of his children, family, and community. The man offers himself as an example of good father, whose desirable mode of being is the responsible male citizen. Consequently, while discouraging fathers from problematizing their masculinity, the discourse of manly fathering would also seem to discourage them from problematizing their masculinity and masculinist priorities at work. Yet, in many contemporary organizations pursuing masculinity at work often translates into pursuing masculinist career patterns and working patterns, which would seem to push men into working long hours and being constantly available to their employersat the cost of their family lives (Fournier 1998; Linstead and Thomas 2002; Merilinen et al. 2004; Dermott 2005). Involved fathering 7. It is a generally accepted view that the time that a father spends with his children even when they are quite small is important both for the father himself, for his personal growth, and especially for the development of the father-child relationship. When the father takes responsibility, is committed and gains more self-confidence, he becomes a real person that is present in the childs life. [.] When a man becomes more accomplished in the skills of a father, a more equal division of responsibility can be introduced with regard to the practical tasks of running a family and caring for children. When necessary, this also provides the mother with the opportunity to give a more equal input to her own working career. (Green paper, 28)

The competing discourse on male parenting, involved fathering, entails a liberal sociopolitical form of rationality in the sense that it is more open to new forms of family life and gender relations, taking shared parenting and the dual-earner/dual-carer family as the basic starting points. It seems to have emerged gradually in Western countries since the 1960s in response to the mounting criticism and uneasiness about the traditional cultural ideals of family life and parenting, which have tended to confine women to the roles of homemakers and caring mothers, and men to the roles of breadwinners and detached after-work fathers (Vuori 2001). It thus questions the idea of different, specifically paternal and maternal roles and functions in parenting, and prescribes engaged and committed, intimate and caring parenthood for both men and women. Involved fathering is believed to have multitudinous positive outcomes not only for the children and their mother but also for the father himself. The model image of a father is a man who takes responsibility for care work and spends quality time with his children, engaging in active interaction and being available to them on a daily basis. The involved father is thus some sort of a New Man, who is ready and able to shoulder some of the domestic burden to allow his female partner the space of her own and not just be a wife at home (Linstead and Thomas 2002: 11). He therefore 12

balances his career with home life in order to promote equal opportunities for his partner in the labor market and to form stronger, closer, and personally more rewarding relationships with his children. The discourse of involved fathering thus problematizes the role of the father as a career and work oriented, authoritative and distant breadwinner. The main source of concern that the discourse of involved fathering brings up revolves around the question of work/life balance, i.e. how men and women can better reconcile the demands of their work and family lives. For men, working long hours, neglecting familial responsibilities and being weekend fathers, creates tensions in their domestic relationships. This places them at a risk of divorce and losing an important part of their social networks, which puts their psychosocial survival in danger. It also prevents them from gaining personally valuable experiences as fathers through more involved engagement and closer relationships with their children. For women, the question of work/life balance concerns their unequal position in the labor market and society. The caring responsibilities imposed upon women affect their possibilities of having a fulltime job, accumulating income and building up a successful career. Moreover, since women usually spend significantly more time on household chores and care work than their male partners, they are loaded by a double burden of having to engage both in paid employment and in unpaid domestic labor, on a second shift (Hochschild 1989). For children, a good work-life balance in the family is represented as an important ingredient of a harmonious family environment for them to grow up. To offer practical solutions to the problem of work/life balance, involved fathering calls attention not only to individual fathers and families but also to public policy and workplace practices, calling for paternal leaves, educational programs and policy interventions for promoting involved fathering. It encourages fathers to get involved and to take an active role in everyday childcare and constructs male parenting as a personal developmental project of a man as a father and an ethical subject. Truths about involved fathers and balanced families 8. The main problem of the nuclear-family -fatherhood that is based on an oldfashioned role differentiation is that it is risky [] The everyday life of a father who is capable of doing very little housework and who knows his childrens needs only superficially can continue smoothly only as long as the mother is able and willing to take care of these things. [] Problems arise in case of a quarrelsome divorce, where the fathers possibilities of getting custody are weighted. The parent who has taken more responsibility for childcare before the divorce, and whose care the children are accustomed to in the everyday life of the home, has an advantage. (Text book, 75.) The starting point was the eventually revolutionary change in perspective, according to which child care is no longer considered as a biology-driven, natural activity for women alone, but as care work, like any work, [skills and practices] that are learned and obtained gradually through experience. Thus also the father can learn to satisfy the needs of the child completely, and there are no real barriers to share nurturance and care with the mother. (Text book, 171.) 13


The discourse of involved fathering offers policy makers, family experts, and individual parents an intellectual technology and authority that is based on the canons of developmental psychology as well as on the recent Anglo-American literature on male parenting. Some of the important authors and concepts include Alan Hawkins and David Dollahites (1997) generative fathering, and Michael Lamb, Joseph Pleck, Eric Charnov and James Levines (1987) father involvement, which emphasize the psychological nature of parenting and represent fathering as a practice and a personal project of the male parent. Grounded in this literature, the discourse of involved fathering clearly problematizes essentialist notions of fathering and the prevalent ideas of a gendered division of labor in parenting. The popular understanding that there are natural gender-based differences in parenting that stem from innate biological or psychological differences between men and women is contested. Involved fathering rather emphasizes the practical nature of fatherhood. Childcare and parenting are represented in terms of concrete tasks, everyday practices, and skills that can be learned, rehearsed and improved. A critical point, according to this reasoning, is whether the father truly assumes responsibility for the well-being and care of his child on a daily basis. To be an involved father, a man has to engage in organizing the daily programs of his children, taking care of their clothes, meals, school trips, and medical appointments, as well as staying at home when they are ill. Parenting thus involves not only caring about but also caring for children (Tronto 1989). It involves spending time and being available to ones children as well as taking responsibility for the everyday routines and activities of childcare, childrearing and family life. Fathering is thus largely a form of care work and domestic expertise, a competence that can be acquired. This activity of carrying out child-related domestic work is represented as a fundamental precondition for building close parent-child relationships, both for women and men. The assumption of an exclusive attachment to the primary parent, typically the mother, is questioned as an outdated view of child development. Infants are rather represented as capable of forming multiple close relationships with their parents and caretakers, both with the mother and the father, for example. Therefore, fathers need to get involved in the daily activities of the family, because direct paternal involvement in childcare and one-toone interaction with the child enables an early psychological attachment of the child to the father. This contributes positively to a childs sense of security and to the wellbeing of the entire family. Moreover, in the discourse of involved fathering, the rigid sex-specificity of the paternal functions is also problematized. Both female and male parents are represented as capable of satisfying all the needs of their children, and to contribute to the developmental processes that they go through, e.g. achieving autonomy and learning to cope with aggression. In this sense, there seems to be no qualitative gender difference in the parenting skills of mothers and fathers. Mothers are assumed to be able to function as proficient parents and instigators of social order as fathers, for example. There is no reason to assume that in families of single mothers children are at risk for developing into anti-social, over-dependent or otherwise abnormal adults because of the absence of the 14

other sex. A two-parent family is nevertheless represented as a preferable growing environment for a child since there are quantitatively more parental resources available to the children. Grounded in the literature on generative fathering, the discourse of involved fathering also represents male parenting as a personal project and developmental task of the father. It draws on Erik H. Eriksons (1950) theory of psychosocial development, which discerns eight stages of psychosocial development in human life. In Eriksons theory, the seventh stage, experienced in middle adulthood, is characterized by a crisis or a nuclear conflict between generativity and stagnation. By generativity Erikson refers to the interest in establishing and guiding the next generation or whatever in a given case may become the absorbing object of a parental kind of responsibility (Erikson 1950: 231). He argues that where this enrichment fails, a regression from generativity to an obsessive need for pseudo intimacy, punctuated by moments of mutual repulsion, takes place, often with a pervading sense [] of individual stagnation and interpersonal impoverishment (Erikson 1950: 231). The seventh stage thus is about attaining a favorable balance of generativity over stagnation through, and in the process of, parenting or helping the next generation in other ways. Generative fathering thus refers to the will and capacity of a (male) person to commit himself to caring for the next generation, to nurturing his children in particular. From this perspective, parenting is considered an important, even crucial part of adult male life since it is viewed to extend mens sense of self to include the next generation, family, and community. The failure to achieve the stage of generative fathering is thus understood as pathology, which signals a parental inability to meet the needs of ones children. In the discourse of involved fathering, the concept of generative fathering thus brings out a new perspective. It shifts the focus from childhood development to the lifespan development of the adult male. Concurrently, it shifts the focus of psy-knowledge and expertise from the subjectivity of the child to that of the male parent, thus psychologizing fatherhood (see Rose 1999a). By rendering fatherhood into a psychological project and the object of psy-knowledge, the discourse of involved fathering offers a range of new resourcesconcepts, categories, logicsfor fathers to problematize, analyze, evaluate, and improve their parenting in new ways. Through this knowledge and intellectual technology the government of male parenting is rendered into a question of father identity and the father is interpellated as an ethical subject in the Foucauldian sense (Foucault 1985). Overall, the discourse of involved fathering constructs male parenting in terms of activities and attributes that have conventionally been understood as female forms of parenting. It highlights the psychological relationship between father and the child that is brought into being through activities of care and nurturance. In principle, this problematization of the traditional gendered organization of work and parenting in the family opens up revolutionary perspectives to fathering and family life. It improves the conditions of possibility for male parents to take more responsibility and even act as full caregivers and homemakers, and thus allows them to liberate their partners to better reconcile work and family life. 15

The ethos of involved fathering The discourse of involved fathering may be characterized as an ethics-oriented morality in the sense that it emphasizes the self-formation of the father as an ethical subject (Foucault 1985). While the instructions and advice given to the male parent are many in the texts that draw on the discourse of involved fathering, the emphasis is clearly on the practices that enable the father to transform his own identity or mode of being as a father. In contrast to the discourse of manly fathering, there is no predefined, symbolic position of the father that a man can occupy. A man has to create his own parenthood and construct himself as a father through personal growth. The discourse of involved fathering would seem to make up the father as a person who aspires to become a mature individual, partner and parent, so as to give meaning to his personal life and existence. To achieve this mode of being, the involved father engages in concrete practices of relationship building and care work. The main focus of this moral action is the relationship between the father and his child, i.e. psychological fatherhood, emotional bond and attachment. The discourse motivates the male parent to pay attention to this father-child relationship by appealing to the fathers own needs and wants. For example, the texts that draw on the discourse of involved fathering contain personal narratives, in which adult men describe their own experiences of fathering in positive terms. These autobiographical accounts typically represent male parenthood as a journey of self-discovery and fulfillment, and invite the reader to take the viewpoint of the creative, loving father. It is the fathers will to create a close contact with the child and to be a new father (Kugelberg 2006: 164) and a balanced individual (Merilinen et al. 2004: 555), whose professional and organizational identity is based on mastering both work and private life. Hence, for the discourse of involved fathering, the moral question concerns not only whether or not a man should care about his children but also the appropriate ways in which he should engage in the activity of caring. The forms of ethical work that the discourse offers consist of concrete childcare activities and responsibilities, as described above. Moreover, the practices that the man carries out in the hope of making this caring possible, of transforming himself into the involved father, consist of different forms of identity work and self-formation, such as writing about parenting experiences and participating in fatherhood groups to learn how to express and handle the different emotions that the male parents experience during their transition to fatherhood. In all these practices, an active problematization of mans fatherhood and masculinityas well as his relationships to his children, partner and to the societyare required. Consequently, the discourse of involved fathering constructs fatherhood as an entrepreneurial activity, a project of shaping ones life as an autonomous, responsible individual seeking to maximize ones potential and achievements as a worthy person (Lupton and Barclay 1997: 18). How this entrepreneurship is compatible with the male work identity cultivated in contemporary organizations is another question. In organization studies, work organizations and management have long been described as implicitly masculine worlds, where the virtues of rationality, autonomy, instrumentality, and efficiency, for example, are highly valued (e.g. Mills 1998; Knights and Kerfoot 2004; Ross-Smith and Kornberger 2004). In masculinity studies, precisely the public 16

domain of work organizationtogether with popular culturehas been regarded as a key area for the manifestations of an ideal typical form of masculinity, often termed as hegemonic masculinity (Connell 1995). It is often argued that this kind of organizational ethos functions to constitute coherent subjectivities that leave little room for intimacy, affection, nurturing, and interconnectedness among people. In such a context, both male and female managers and employees might find it difficult to cultivate parental identities that the discourse of involved fathering suggests. CONCLUSION Our aim, in this paper, has been to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the regimes of truth that organize and regulate male parenting and partly constitute the conditions of possibility for male identity and subjectivity both as fathers and employees. More specifically, our objective has been to elaborate on the forms of knowledge and truth about fathers and male parenting in psy-knowledge, so as to learn about the discursive resources that are available to men and women for constructing their identities as parents and employees. Our study illustrates how the problematization of male parenting is formulated in terms of psychological truths about persons, and how this knowledge opens up these persons to interventions and provides discursive resources for identity work, both for men and women. It shows how the conduct of fathers is problematized by describing it and unfolding its complexities by means of a vocabulary, ethical principles, and logics of explanation that are characteristically psychological (see Rose 1999a). To educate fathers or social and health workers on male parenting, the reality of men as parents is represented and organized according to psychological taxonomies, abilities, personalities, and attitudes. Understanding these social truths is important because psychological knowledge not only informs and justifies social policy and the organization of family education and welfare services. Psychological knowledge has also a decisive role in the everyday life of contemporary western people. As Nikolas Rose (1999a) has argued, the representations of motherhood, fatherhood, family life, and parental conduct created by psy-expertise, infuse and shape the personal investment of individuals, the ways in which they voluntarily form, regulate and evaluate their lives, their actions, and their goals according to social norms. Understanding the discursive resources that these regimes of truth or rationality offer can also provide insight on the institutionalization of workplace practices (Kuhn 2006). It has been argued, for example, that changes in mens work/family orientations and practices often start at home and are brought into jobs, rather than the other way around (Holter 2007). By problematizing many of the truths of male parenting that the expert literature on fathering reproduces and sustains, our study thus serves to enlarge the conceptual space in which fathers and mothers as well as men and women can be talked about as human beings, managers and employees, as well as parents. As Amy Rossiters (1988: 17) work shows, understanding the social construction of mothering [and fathering] is essential to an ability to resist knowledge about mothers and fathers knowledge created by abstractions. 17

It is noteworthy that in the empirical material that we analyzed, i.e. in the Finnish problematizations of male parenting, occupational and class-based distinctions and reasoning play a minor role. This is understandable, we argue, in the context of the Nordic welfare state that we focus on. In Finnish society, which is a deeply rooted democracy and a highly developed welfare state, egalitarianism would seem to constitute an important cultural value and political rationality. According to the Nordic egalitarian ideal, in a just society all citizens are able to exercise their autonomy and pursue their life goals regardless of class and gender. In this type of socio-cultural environment, classbased differences in personal and organizational identities tend to be silenced, and a powerful discourse of equality prevails (Merilinen et al. 2004; Tienari, Soderberg, Holgersson and Vaara 2005). Moreover, based on our analysis we argue that the prevalent psychological regimes of truth about fathers and fathering do not necessarily render enactable the sorts of parental identities that enable both men and women to achieve a better work/life balance. While the discourse of manly fathering arguably perpetuates the ideology of male breadwinner, the discourse of involved fathering, with its ideals of caring and family oriented fathers, does not readily match with the conceptions of what a good and committed employee is and how he is supposed to organize his life. It is therefore understandable that breadwinning continues to be an important element of the cultural identity of the father. Our study also suggests that while involved fathering seeks to problematize essentialist representations of sexual difference, the discourse of manly fathering explicitly sustains such representations, thus arguably reifying the terms wherein the divisions between men and women as well as male and female are treated as absolute and unchanging (Knights and Kerfoot 2004). This is problematic because in the day-to-day of organizations, such distinctions between male and female or masculine and feminine may polarize gender relations in ways that subordinate, marginalize, or undermine women with respect to men (Knights and Kerfoot 2004; Linstead and Brewis 2004). They also sustain the gender stereotypes that characterize male managers as reliable professionals without caring responsibilities and their female colleagues primarily as mothers and not as competent and committed professionals (Kugelberg 2006: 158). Consequently, we argue, the discourse of many fathering sustains the conditions of subjectivity/language that make the representation of gender as a binary and the associated organizational hierarchies possible (Knights and Kerfoot 2004). APPENDIX 1 Full reference information on the empirical material analyzed 1. Green paper: Komiteanmietint 1999:1. Istoimikunnan mietint. Sosiaali- ja terveysministeri, Helsinki. 2. Proceedings A: Conference report: TemaNord 1999:5. Isn Konferenssiraportti. Kpenhamina: Pohjoismaiden ministerineuvosto. jljill.


3. Proceedings B: Torkkeli, Markus (ed.) (2001) Lytretki isyyteen. Helsinki: Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto. 4. Guide for professionals: Svl, Hannu, Eero Keinnen & Jari Vainio (2001) Is neuvolassa. Tyvlineit ja ajatuksia vauvaa odottavien ja hoitavien isien kanssa tyskenteleville. Tasa-arvojulkaisuja, Sosiaali- ja terveysministeri, Helsinki. 5. Text book: Huttunen, Jouko 2001) Isn olemisen uudet suunnat. Jyvskyl: PSkustannus. 6. Parenting book: Sinkkonen, Jari (1998) Yhdess isn kanssa. Porvoo: WSOY.

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