My research and scholarly contributions have unfolded mainly in the following seven research streams:
- (1) Fathering, care work, and care responsibilities: I began exploring fathering and caregiving after the birth of my first daughter 30 years ago when the treatment of my partner in a moms and tots group in Cambridge England led me to take up questions of men and the responsibilities for care. Borrowing from the late Sara Ruddick, I posed the question: Do men mother? My responses to that question are in two editions of my book, Do Men Mother? (2006, 2018), which was awarded the John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award by the Canadian Sociological Association. My work on fathering has explored changing concepts and practices of stay-at-home fathering, single fathering, embodiment, masculinities, and care. Some of my writing has appeared in journals and book chapters, including The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Sex Roles, Journal of Marriage and Family, and The Sociological Review. I was also Chief Editor of the journal Fathering (2009-2013). Feature articles about my work have appeared in major publications, including Time magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, CBC radio and TV, CTV, and TVO.
- (2) Feminist epistemologies and ecological social imaginaries of knowledge making: For more than five years, I have been working to translate and apply the work of feminist philosopher and epistemologist Lorraine Code into qualitative and post qualitative research practices. Some of my publications on this topic include a co-edited collection (with Nancy Arden McHugh, in-press, 2021) titled Thinking Ecologically, Thinking Responsibly: The Legacies of Lorraine Code (SUNY Press), chapters in handbooks (i.e., The Palgrave Handbook of Relational Sociology and Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research Ethics), and various other books. A recent article in Families, Relationships and Societies (2021) extends Code’s case study of the late American ecological thinker Rachel Carson and connects Carson’s work with the field of family sociology. More recently, I am engaging with Indigenous (Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee) scholars (Eva Jewell and Vanessa Watts) to think through relationalities and differences between feminist ecological and Indigenous onto-epistemologies.
- (3) Reflexivity, narrative analysis, and the Listening Guide approach to data analysis: Since my doctoral dissertation, I have worked on developing responsible and reflexive data analysis approaches that extend the Listening Guide narrative analysis approach that I learned from Carol Gilligan at Cambridge University and further developed with my colleague Natasha Mauthner (Newcastle University, UK) Notable publications in this area include articles in Qualitative Sociology, Qualitative Research, and Sociology, and my many chapters in books and handbooks (e.g., Handbook of Social Research Methods and Handbook of 21st Century Sociology). I serve on the Editorial Board of the international journal, Qualitative Research.
- (4) Visual methodologies: My focus on visual methodologies is rooted in my long background in participatory and visual methods, which I first gained while working as a participatory research facilitator in water supply and sanitation projects with UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and UNDP/PROWESS (Promotion of the Role of Women in Water Supply and Sanitation) in South America in the 1980s. My visual research now takes place mainly from my Research Studio for Narrative, Visual and Digital Methods, where researchers collaborate on innovative qualitative and post qualitative narrative, visual and digital methods. I have developed visual methods for research on gender divisions and relations of housework and care (e.g, the Household Portrait) and have worked with family photographs in family research. Some publications include two special journal issues on visual sociology (in Studies in Social Justice and the Canadian Review of Sociology) which I edited/co-edited, articles on photography and visual methods (e.g., in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography) and an essay (in Visual Studies) connecting the work of narrative and historical sociologist Margaret Somers with Margaret Atwood and Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley. I served on the Board of the ISA Visual Sociology Working Group (2014-2018).
For more information on projects and publications from Research Streams (2), (3) and (4), see https://brocku.ca/research-studio/
- (5) Genealogies of concepts of care, work, time, and equality: My work on Margaret Somers’ Foucauldian, relational, and historical sociological-inspired genealogical approach to concepts has shaped my research on concepts and conceptual narratives for the past decade. It also guided the second edition of Do Men Mother? and my recent articles in the Journal of Marriage of Family, Sex Roles, Genealogy, the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Social Inclusion, as well as a book chapter on reconceptualizing parental leave.
- (6) Parental leave policies (gender equality and social inclusion): I am honoured to be the one of the new Co-Coordinators (2021-2026) of the International Network of Leave Policies and Research (with Marian Baird, Johanna Lammi-Taskuli and Gerardo Meil) and building on the excellent foundations provided by prevous Coordinators Peter Moss and Fred Deven (2004-2015) and Ann-Zofie Duvander and Margaret O’Brien (2015-2021). I have been a member of this collective for sixteen years and have co-authored, each of those years, the Canadian chapter in the annual International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research; this volume is widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive overview of international leave policies and other family policies. I have also contributed to all of the edited books produced by the Network and have published articles, book chapters, and Op-Eds with two colleagues (former postdoctoral fellows) Lindsey McKay and Sophie Mathieu.
- (7) Intersectionality and methodological innovation in research with diverse communities: I have had the privilege of doing research with diverse communities including my collaboration with Sadie Goddard-Durant and TAIBU on Black mothering and with STRIVE Niagara on young motherhood; and research on Indigenous work and care with Eva Jewell (Ryerson), Jessica Falk (MA student) and Sue Fyke and Karen Hilston (peer researchers at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre). On intersectionality, and its varied theoretical and methodological dimensions, my colleague Janet Siltanen (Carleton University) and I co-authored two editions of the book Gender Relations in Canada: Intersectionality and Social Change (2008, 2017) for Oxford University Press (OUP) and we have also written book chapters for other Canadian texts on gender, intersectionality, and families.
- (8) Care/work practices and policies for diverse Canadian families: My new SSHRC Partnership Grant, Reimagining Care/Work Policies (2020-2028), explores how diverse Canadian families experience and are affected by key family policies (parental leave, childcare, and employment policies). In this project, I have the privilege of working with 35 community, non-profit, and government partners and researchers that have long histories with new immigrant, Indigenous (First Nations, Innuit, and Metis), Black Canadian, and LGBTQ families). This project consolidates my previous research, extends it in collaborations with established, emergent, and diverse researchers on a wide range of theoretical, methodological, and epistemological matters and will train approximately 70 students and postdoctoral fellows. For information, please visit the Reimagining Care/Work Policies website.