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When equal couples become unequal partners: Couple relationships and intensive parenting culture

Faircloth, C; (2020) When equal couples become unequal partners: Couple relationships and intensive parenting culture. Families, Relationships and Societies 10.1332/204674319X15761552010506. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Based on longitudinal research with (heterosexual) couples in the UK, this article tracks their experiences of becoming parents for the first time. The suggestion is that new parents are caught in an uncomfortable confluence between competing discourses around ideal relationships and those around ideal parenting. On the one hand, they must be committed to egalitarian ideals about the division of care. On the other, they must be parenting ‘intensively’, in ways which are markedly more demanding for mothers, and which makes paternal involvement more complicated. Drawing on accounts of relationship difficulties, elicited over a five-year period, the article demonstrates the incommensurability of these ideals at physiological, material and ideological levels. As a contribution to the body of work known as parenting culture studies, this article brings, for the first time, an empirical focus to the question of how an ‘intensive’ parenting culture affects couples, rather than just mothers or fathers.

Type: Article
Title: When equal couples become unequal partners: Couple relationships and intensive parenting culture
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1332/204674319X15761552010506
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1332/204674319X15761552010506
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: couples; equality; gender; mental load; parenting
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089664
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