|THE APPARENT PROJECT
financed by the European Research Council (ERC) | ERC Starting Grant
The project assesses
contemporary parenting norms and practices and their diffusion in a number of
European countries. The international collaboration includes Sweden,
the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The
project develops a comparative framework to study prevalent motherhood
and fatherhood norms, images, identities and behaviour in current
societies. The focus is on how mothering and fathering is constructed
by professionals, welfare states, and popular media, and will assess
how cultural and institutional norms and images are perceived and
realized by expecting and new parents. Apparent is a 6-year research
program which started in January 2011.
The aim of this project
is to develop a contemporary sociology of adult sex roles and parenting
norms: A theory of the social creation of parenting norms and a
comprehensive framework to study empirically the change of men's and
women's roles, identities and practices as earners and care givers in
the early phase of family formation. The project is methodologically
innovative in its aim to combine diverse quantitative and qualitative
longitudinal data and methods. By combining expert interviews, policy
analysis and content analysis of print media with analyses of
qualitative and quantitative data on (nascent) parents, the four
subprojects will address the diverse layers associated with changing
gender roles and parenting norms over the adult life course.
1. What do contemporary
motherhood and fatherhood norms look like? How are norms and images of
male and female parenting roles evolving and changing in recent
European societies? What are the central mechanisms and institutions
involved in the creation and dissemination of parenting norms and
2. How do
expecting and new
parents in different European countries perceive the standards created
by medical and social experts, welfare states, and popular media, and
to what extent do they embrace and live these standards? When do legal
options to share care and paid work become 'real' options for new
How are standards of 'good' mothering and fathering perceived, shaped
and disseminated by professionals (gynaecologists, midwives, family
(2) How do
welfare states, labour markets and family policies target at mothers
and fathers roles as earners and care givers? How has this changed in
(3) How have images of mothers and fathers roles been portrayed in print media from 1980 until 2010?
(4) How do
(expecting) mothers and fathers perceive, embody and represent
parenting norms and images in their own work and family roles?
(5) How do new parents divide paid and unpaid work and how do these divisions shape career patterns over the life course?
(6) How do these patterns differ cross-nationally?
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