Publication type: Conference paper
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Title: “I will not put myself above my child” – managing alcohol risk and (re)producing gendered norms of good parenthood during pregnancy
Authors: Radu, Irina
Gouilhers, Solène
Hammer, Raphaël
Meyer, Yvonne
Pehlke-Milde, Jessica
et. al: No
Conference details: 2021 Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association : "Social Justice in Times of Uncertainty", Geneva, Switzerland (online), 28-30 June 2021
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Language: English
Subjects: Alcohol risk; Risk during pregnancy; Good parenthood; Gender norm
Subject (DDC): 618: Gynecology, obstetrics and midwifery
Abstract: Governmentality principles of risk-aversion and individual responsibility have long permeated the realm of family, framing good parenthood as risk-averse parenthood. This also applies to pregnancy, an incipient phase of the transition to parenthood. Here research shows that the role of managing risks for the foetus lies mainly with the woman. The role of male partners during this stage, however, has been underexamined in the sociological literature. Our study focuses on expecting couples and their experience with and perception of alcohol risk during pregnancy, as well as the construction of boundaries between “harmful”, “risky” and “safe” alcohol consumption habits. To this end, we conducted separate qualitative interviews with 46 couples living in Switzerland. Our findings indicate that most expecting parents perceive abstinence, or significant reduction of alcohol consumption, as an integral part of good parenthood. Women in particular, feel responsible for the management of alcohol related risk and uncertainty, which involves an on-going monitoring of their daily habits and bodily sensations, as well as navigating conflicting norms within daily life, work, sociability and coupledom. In this ongoing process of risk monitoring, male partners take on a secondary role, referencing information and risk appraisals provided by the women, and sometimes providing support in situations of uncertainty. Most men reduce their alcohol consumption marginally. “Shared abstinence” as a way of supporting the women’s abstinence efforts, is seen as ideal but unattainable, by some pregnant women, and as ineffectual, by others. Male partners, meanwhile, stress their willingness to reduce consumption to a similar degree, if asked by their partners. Ultimately, we find that the management of alcohol risk during pregnancy contributes to the (re)production of gendered norms of good parenthood, where the future mother is primarily in charge of the child’s health and wellbeing, and the future father inhabits a secondary, supportive role.
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/23876
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Health Sciences
Organisational Unit: Institute of Midwifery (IHB)
Published as part of the ZHAW project: Paare und ihre Wahrnehmung des Alkoholkonsums während Schwangerschaft und Stillzeit: eine soziokulturelle Annäherung an ein „gewöhnliches Risiko“
Appears in collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

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