Doing being father in Côte d'Ivoire
Paper short abstract:
The presentation looks at fathering in Côte d'Ivoire as performative practice. It asks: how is fatherhood performed in public, who are the addressees of performances of fatherhood and what importance is attributed to descent from a praxeological perspective in traditionally matrilinear societies.
Paper long abstract:
In my presentation I will look at fathering as performative practice. I will analyze how fatherhood is performed in public, ask who are the addressees of performances of fatherhood and what importance is attributed to descent from a praxeological perspective in the context of traditionally matrilinear societies.
Studying fathering as performance and as performative will help reconciling processes of doing kinship with the essence and structural underpinnings of parenthood, as has recently been argued for by McKinnon 2016. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among middle-class fathers in urban and peri-urban areas of Côte d'Ivoire I will look at norms and practices of good fatherhood as expressed and performed by family welfare officers, education experts and family counselling programs of churches. For many of my interlocutors, intensive fathering offered an alternative and attractive model for living and was used to renegotiate and re-evaluate gender roles, the relations between the nuclear and the extended family and to craft imaginaries of a proper childhood that largely differed from their own childhood.
Continuities and disruptions in 'doing fatherhood' in Africa