As the newest member of CABS I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my research and myself to the CABS blogosphere! I joined the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University in April 2012 and have now officially been to my first meeting, which was a thoroughly enjoyable and useful experience. I have joined CABS because of my research interests in ageing masculinities, men’s roles in society and families, and grandparenting. I previously conducted my PhD research at Lancaster University, which was about the contemporary geographies of grandfathering. I was interested in learning about what men do as grandfathers, where they grandfather and how important it is to them in forming their identities. I found grandfathering to be incredibly significant in the lives of the men I interviewed. They discussed a range of practices that they each variably engaged in with their grandchildren from caring and babysitting, to walking and other leisure activities and even nappy changing! The data supported feminist literature that argues that in some families the practices and spatiality’s of grandparenting reflect a continued gendered division of labour in families later in life. Others however showed that grandfathering is an opportunity for some men to transform gendered familial routines, particularly around childcare.
In terms of developing my research, I am now interested in understanding how grandparents are assessed by social workers when they want to become formal kinship carers for their grandchildren. To continue to develop my thinking about older men’s roles in society though, I am delighted that CABS is supporting me in running a one-day seminar about ageing masculinities, to be held on Tuesday 14th February 2014 in the OU’s Camden Offices. Watch this space for further information about the seminar!
If you are interested in finding more about me, I have my own blog site, which I use for discussing my research and other news relating to my work. You can view this here. I am also Managing Editor of PhD2Published, a blog site aimed at PhD students and Early Career Researchers, which explores the how to of academic publishing in the contemporary academy. You can also follow me on Twitter at @dratarrant.