Fatherhood and precarious work: a supporting relation between systems of meanings


  • Anna Carreri Università degli Studi di Trento




Both care and work imply social norms about how men and women believe they ought to live their lives which reproduce or challenge the traditional link between gender and moral obligation. Since the recent and fundamental changes both to the organization of work and to the family, 'the right thing to do' regarding how to combine work and care today has to be renegotiated in uncertain and often contradictory situations. This study puts the emphasis on the social negotiation of systems of meanings versus trades-offs, rational choices and strategies about how to combine work and family demands. Specifically, the paper investigates what kind of norms and prescriptions Italian fathers in precarious work attribute to fatherhood and paid work, and what kind of relation exists between them from a subjective point of view. Within an interpretativist approach and from a gender perspective, the study tries to answer these questions through an analysis of 41 qualitative interviews with Italian couples with young children in which both parents are university-educated precarious workers. The analysis shows that the emerging fatherhood model fits in well with the new conditions of labour market and with its prescriptions, by giving new social and symbolic resources to men.


Keywords: highly-qualified precarious workers, fatherhood, precariousness, work-family, cultural innovation.

Author Biography

Anna Carreri, Università degli Studi di Trento

PhD student presso il Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale