Economic and Social Research Council


May 2009 - October 2011

Fathers across three family generations in Polish, Irish and UK origin white families

Research summary
Fatherhood is changing in all types of families. Yet little research has taken an intergenerational family perspective on this topic or focused on the impact of migration on fatherhood. This study will examine fatherhood across three generations:  grandfathers in the oldest generation, fathers in the middle generation, and sons (aged 5-18) in the youngest generation. It will compare fatherhood in three groups: first generation Polish families, second generation Irish families and white British families (non migrants).

The study will examine how intergenerational relations among men are shaped over time by the historical experience of migration (or its absence) and by the spatial patterns of family settlement. With a particular focus on fathering young people, it will explore the meanings and practices of fathers, their role in resource transmission, father-son relationships, and the ways in which fatherhood identities are reproduced and challenged.

The study will involve 30 chains of biologically related grandfathers, fathers and sons. Census and other data sets will be analysed to map the characteristics of the different groups. To examine the depth and complexity of intergenerational relations and transmission, a biographical interview approach will be adopted. 'The sons will be interviewed about their views of fatherhood and  being fathered.