Old Obligations in the Modern World: The Father as Provider before and after Divorce
KeywordsSociology & anthropology
Parent Child Relations
Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior
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AbstractThe article draws on empirical qualitative research to identify the various ways in which separated or divorced fathers in the Czech Republic relate to the norm of father-provider. It offers an analysis of the plurality of men's approaches to the traditional provider norm of fatherhood, & the changes that occur in their attitudes & approaches as a result of divorce. The results show that although for Czech men the 'provider' dimension is the strongest dimension in their notion of fatherhood even after marital separation, their understanding of what material support for the children means is transformed by the fact of separation. In the father's view, the child, along with the family, ceases to be a joint enterprise, & the child often becomes identified with the ex-wife. According to their notions & practices concerning child support, the men in this study can be divided into three groups: nurturing fathers who reject the provider/caregiver division & thus refuse to pay; helping fathers who consider their children to be primarily the ex-wife's responsibility, & thus only pay small amounts of money, & the fathers-providers who are willing to fully support their children, but only if this support is voluntary & under their control.