Travelling Feelings: Narratives of Sustaining Love in Two Case Studies with Fathers in Family Separations

Families in Motion: Ebbing and Flowing through Space and Time

ISBN: 978-1-78769-416-3, eISBN: 978-1-78769-415-6

Publication date: 25 October 2019


David Morgan’s (2011) influential concept of ‘doing family’ has yet to be applied to the cultural shaping of fatherhood and emotions. Drawing from two case studies, of a Scottish and a Romanian father, the author reflects in this chapter on the interconnections between ‘doing family’ and ‘loving’, as types of relational and emotional activities which maintain family bonds despite intimate separations and work migration. These two case studies are taken from a larger, qualitative research project, which explored the experiences of involvement and love for 47 fathers in their personal lives. The specific case studies of Sergiu and Keith, marked by relational give-and-takes across different spaces, illuminate the contradictions of their emotional involvement in their close relationships to their children and ex-partners. For these two fathers, the process of ‘doing family’ after separations was a disjointed and renegotiated one. It mainly involved developing their emotional reflexivity as a response to their changing life circumstances. In this process, both fathers recount how they began reconfiguring their masculine identity from providing to establishing caring fathering. These changes occurred when the normative precepts of their personal lives were transformed due to the separations. Situations of emotional upheaval, movement and relocation were thus created. As their families were in motion, fathers mentioned instances of changing their communication strategies to express love in more visible ways to their children, directly constructing their ‘good fathering’ identity from renewed positions. Family separations in this context offered the potential to challenge the traditional father’s role.



Macht, A. (2019), "Travelling Feelings: Narratives of Sustaining Love in Two Case Studies with Fathers in Family Separations", Murray, L., McDonnell, L., Hinton-Smith, T., Ferreira, N. and Walsh, K. (Ed.) Families in Motion: Ebbing and Flowing through Space and Time, Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 19-37.

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Copyright © 2019 Alexandra Macht

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