Grandfathering as spatio-temporal practice: conceptualizing performances of ageing masculinities in contemporary familial carescapes.
Social and Cultural Geography
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This paper examines the spatio-temporalities of the intergenerational caring practices that contemporary grandfathers engage in with their grandchildren, in order to critique old men’s constructions and performances of ageing masculinities, and the gendering and ageing of contemporary carescapes. Findings are based on 31 qualitative interviews and two participant observations, conducted in the North-West of England with men who are grandfathers. The concept of carescapes (Bowlby, Gregory and McKie 1997) is employed to explain that grandfathering is both spatially and temporally organized. Findings suggest that men construct distinctly masculine spaces of care later in life, contingent on both their resistance to spatially embedded ageism and their comparisons of grandfathering to previous lifecourse subjectivities, such as fathering. Complexity and diversity in how men negotiate these factors is also apparent and is explored. There is evidence for example that some men’s performances of ageing masculinities contribute to the maintenance of a gendered division of labour in family care work, while others perform alternative masculinities that offer potential to transform gendered carespaces. This is further mediated by intergenerational interactions with children and grandchildren. Focus on old men who are grandfathers necessarily complicates geographical perspectives on the spatio-temporalities of multiple masculinities, ageing and informal familial care.
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