This study draws on the results of qualitative research conducted in Verona, northeastern Italy, collecting data from in-depth interviews and examining the ways in which different masculinities emerge in the sphere of child care. The presented research takes as its theoretical frame of reference the plural conception of masculinity developed by Connell during the last 20 years, analysing the dynamics of hegemony and subordination among different masculinities present in some families. The research contributes to the strand of men's studies which analyses the masculinities emerging from practices usually associated with fatherhood. Contrary to the findings of other studies carried out in Italy in the same context, the male breadwinner model seems to have lost strength and legitimacy. The research shows that a multiplicity of social actors (members of couples, educational personnel and users of the early childhood services, employers of parents, local and national institutional actors in the Italian scenario) are constructing and legitimising a 'male helper' model of masculinity, which seems more appropriate to the context of reference than other models of masculinity and which is emerging as the hegemonic masculinity in the considered social and geographical context.

Beyond (but not too much) the male breadwinner model: a qualitative study on child care and masculinities in contemporary Italy

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