I skuggan av Pappa familjerätten och hanteringen av fäders våld
Sammanfattning: The aims of this thesis are to shed light on the handling of fathers’ violence in the context of separation and divorce in Sweden today; and to analytically and empirically relate age, gender and kinship to each other. The aims are fulfilled by three interlinked studies of what constructions and the constructing of age, gender and kinship mean for the handling of fathers’ violence against mothers/co-parents and children: in social policy; by separated mothers; and finally by family law secretaries. Each study builds upon a separate set of qualitative material: public documents from three policy areas; thematically structured interviews with abused, separated mothers and family law secretaries. The empirical results make visible some unintended consequences of current attempts in Sweden to create gender equality, shared parenting, a “new father” and to promote children’s interests. Study one demonstrates that when the politics and policy regarding parenthood, separation and divorce are taken as the point of departure, the contemporary age-, gender-, and kinship-order stands out as patriarchal: as marked by father-power based upon ties of blood to not yet adult children. Furthermore, violent fathers neither exist as a concept nor as a policy problem. The interviewed mothers narrate how they have tried to deal with the co-parent’s/ex-partners’ behaviour as violence but have encountered hindrances; the interviewed family law secretaries’ handling fathers’ violence stands out as more of a non-handling, especially in the case of violence against children. When the everyday constructions and constructing of age, gender and kinship discussed in study two and three are taken together, the contours of the patriarchal order seen through the lens of policy are also made visible: fathers’ space for action is vast; children’ and mothers’ more limited. The analysis shows how political and professional handling of fathers’ violence through a non-handling is made possible by well-established notions of heterosexual relationships, fatherhood, motherhood, age- and kinship-relations, as well as family law secretary-professionalism. However, the two studies based upon interviews demonstrate not just how the everyday constructions and constructing mentioned above can be used to reproduce father-power, but also how this power can be challenged.
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