Article Information


Ekaterina Ivanova (

European University at Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Ivanova E.A. (2017) «Ya sebya ne otnoshu k khoroshim papam, v luchshem sluchaye, k normal’nym»: kak rossiyskiye muzhchiny konstruiruyut obraz «khoroshego ottsa» posle razvoda [“I don’t consider myself a good dad, at best, an average one”: How Russian men construct the image of a “Good father” af ter divorce]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(5): 132–150 (in Russian).

Full Text (PDF)

Abstract. This article presents the results of a research into divorced fathers in Saint Petersburg Russia. Gender ideology contextualized practices of fathering and models of fatherhood are both described within the paper. It points out that despite the emergence of the “involved father” model the majority of Russian fathers still accept a more traditional image of father as a moral guide and sex-role model. These ideals are expressed in the “masculine” type of care which focuses more on activities with the child rather than on everyday routine care. Fathers performing this model are less affected by divorce. Comparatively, fathers that are more involved feel vulnerable in the social context that considers the mother as primary caregiver. Becoming Involved in everyday care becomes a “recovery” resource to regain masculinity for some men piqued by divorce and loss of power in the family. “Absent” fathers in turn find resources for constructing an image of a “good father” in new families by performing better with their new children.

Keywords: divorce, fatherhood, masculinity


Angelova E., Temkina A. (2009) Otets, uchastvuyushchiy v rodakh: gendernoye partnerstvo ili situativnyy kontrol’? [The father who participates in childbirth: gender partnership or situational control?] In: Zdravomyslova E., Temkina A. (eds.) Novyy byt v sovremennoy Rossii: gendernyye issledovaniya povsednevnosti: Kollektivnaya monografiya [New Everyday Live in Russia: Gender Approach]. St. Petersburg: EUSP Press: 473–507 (in Russian).

Avdeeva A.V. (2012) “Vovlechennoye ottsovstvo” v sovremennoy Rossii: strategii uchastiya v ukhode za det’mi [“Involved fatherhood” in present-day Russia: Childcare strategies]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies], 11: 95–104 (in Russian).

Bailey S.J. (2007) Unraveling the meaning of family: Voices of divorced nonresidential parents. Marriage& Family Review, 42(1): 81–102.

Bailey S.J., Zvonkovic A. M. (2003) Parenting after divorce: Nonresidential parents’ perceptions of social and institutional support. Journal of Divorce& Remarriage, 39(3–4): 59–80.

Bezrukova O.N. (2007) Gotovnost’ k ottsovstvu: faktory, usloviya i predposylki [Ready to be a father: factors, conditions and assumptions]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta. Seriya 6. Politologiya. Mezhdunarodnyye otnosheniya [Bulletin of the St. Petersburg University. Series 6. Political science. International relationships], 2(1): 98–109 (in Russian).

Bezrukova O.N. (2012) Praktiki otvetstvennogo ottsovstva: “Papa-shkola” i sotsial’nyy kapital [Practices of responsible fatherhod: “Daddy-school” and social capital]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta. Seriya 12. Sotsiologiya [Bulletin of St. Petersburg University. Series

12. Sociology], 3: 266–275 (in Russian). Brandth B., Kvande E. (1998) Masculinity and child care: The reconstruction of fathering. The sociological review, 46(2): 293–313. Braun A., Vincent C., Ball S.J. (2011) Working-class fathers and childcare: the economic and family contexts of fathering in the UK. Community, Work& Family, 14(1): 19–37.

Chernova Zh.V. (2007) Model’ “sovetskogo” ottsovstva: diskursivnyye predpisaniya [Th e model of “Soviet” fatherhood: discursive prescriptions] In: Zdravomyslova E., Temkina A. (eds.) Rossiyskiy gendernyy poryadok: sotsiologicheskiy podkhod: Kollektivnaya monografiya [Russian gender order: sociological approach: Collective monograph]. St. Petersburg: EUSP Press: 136– 168 (in Russian).

Chernova Zh.V. (2012) Semeynaya politika v zapadnoyevropeyskikh stranakh: modeli ottsovstva [Family Policy in Western European Countries: models of fatherhood]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsial’noy antropologii [Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 15(1): 103– 122 (in Russian).

Chernova Zh.V., Shpakovskaya L.L. (2013) Diskursivnyye modeli sovremennogo rossiyskogo roditel’stva [Discursive Models of Modern Russian Parenthood]. Zhenshchina v rossiyskom obshchestve [Woman in Russian Society], 2 (67): 14–26 (in Russian).

Christiansen S.L., Palkovitz R. (2001) Why the “good provider” role still matters: Providing as a form of paternal involvement. Journal of Family Issues, 22(1): 84–106.

Craig L. (2006) Does father care mean fathers share? A comparison of how mothers and fathers in intact families spend time with children. Gender& society, 20(2): 259–281.

Davis S.N., Greenstein T.N. (2009) Gender ideology: Components, predictors, and consequences. Annual Review of Sociology, 35: 87–105.

De Luccie M.F. (1995) Mothers as gatekeepers: A model of maternal mediators of father involvement. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 156(1): 115–131.

Fagan J., Barnett M. (2003) The relationship between maternal gatekeeping, paternal competence, mothers’ attitudes about the father role, and father involvement. Journal of Family Issues, 24(8): 1020–1043.

Jenkins J., Lyons K. (2006) Non-resident fathers’ leisure with their children. Leisure Studies, 25(2): 219–232.

Kukhterin S. (2000) Fathers and patriarchs in communist and post-communist Russia. In: Gender, state and society in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. London: Routledge 71–90.

Lamb M.E. (2000) The history of research on father involvement: An overview. Marriage& Family Review, 29(2–3): 23–42.

LaRossa R. (1988) Fatherhood and social change. Family relations, 37: 451–457.

Lipasova A. (2016) Fatherhood Models in the Middle Class of Contemporary Russia. Russian Sociological Review, 15(4): 202–214.

Rotkirch A., Temkina A., Zdravomyslova E. (2007) Who helps the degraded housewife? Comments on Vladimir Putin’s demographic speech. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 14(4): 349–357.

Rzhanitsyna L.S. (2010) Alimenty na detey kak element grazhdanskoy otvetstvennosti [Almonies for children as an element of civic responsibility]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies], 7: 56–65 (in Russian).

Stewart S.D. (1999) Disneyland dads, Disneyland moms? How nonresident parents spend time with absent children. Journal of Family Issues, 20(4): 539–556.

Townsend N. (2010) Package deal: Marriage, work and fatherhood in men’s lives. Temple University Press.

Utrata J. (2008) Keeping the bar low: Why Russia’s nonresident fathers accept narrow fatherhood ideals. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(5): 1297–1310.

Wall G., Arnold S. (2007) How involved is involved fathering? An exploration of the contemporary culture of fatherhood. Gender& Society, 21(4): 508–527.

Williams S. (2008) What is fatherhood? Searching for the refl exive father. Sociology, 42(3): 487–502.

Wilson L. (1999) “Ye Heart of a Father”: Male Parenting in Colonial New England. Journal of Family History, 24(3): 255–274.

Zdravomyslova, E.A., Temkina A.A. (2007) Sovetskiy etakraticheskiy gendernyy poryadok [Soviet etacratic gender order]. In: Zdravomyslova E., Temkina A. (eds.) Rossiyskiy gendernyy poryadok: sotsiologicheskiy podkhod: Kollektivnaya monografiya [Russian gender order: sociological approach: Collective monograph]. St. Petersburg: EUSP Press: 96–137 (in Russian).