Governing partners: responsibilization in pregnancy advice literature for men




Collins, Elizabeth A

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This thesis is an investigation of pregnancy advice books for expectant fathers. It explores how male partners are encouraged to participate in contemporary pregnancy management through medico-moral discourses, This study challenges current theoretical conceptions of responsibilization by contending that responsibilization is a necessarily social process. Working within a governmentality framework, this study uses both content analysis and critical discourse analysis. I found that responsibilization of expectant fathers followed two stages. First, they were invited to accumulate knowledge about pregnancy, and then to adopt behaviours befitting the ideal father. The structure and content of advice invited expectant fathers to become “responsible” by changing their own behaviour—and the behaviour of their pregnant partners. In most cases, the only behavioural modifications required of the expectant father are those that will influence the behaviours of their pregnant partners.



pregnancy, fatherhood, fathers, advice, discourse, responsibilization, pregnant, governance