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Ideas about childbearing among childless men

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Norway is internationally praised for its generous welfare services and its promotion of gender equality in combination with its high fertility rates. However, in recent decades, a sharp increase in the number of childless men has taken place. This analysis is based on a sub-sample of uppermiddle- and working-class men without children. Social influences on the desire to have children transmitted through personal networks and wider social environments are explored. While a positive attitude to having children is uncovered, the timing of the first child is a means of controlling the future and where ambivalence flourishes. Children are perceived as a sign of fulfilment, but not necessarily as a personal drive. A connection is traced between relationship behaviour and class. Upper-middle-class men tend to live in partnership and have year-long discussions on the timing of the first birth, while few working-class men are involved in gendered negotiations regarding children because few have stable relationships.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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