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Redemption theory : Redeeming the sins of the father : grandfathers' experiences and practices in a border community in Ireland
Kent, Susan
THESIS 11479 Exploring the extant literature on grandparents reveals that, in many cases ?grandparent? is de facto synonymous with ?grandmother?. The world of the grandfather remains elusive, although evidence is emerging that recognise the significance of the role within contemporary cultures. Much of the European enquiry has focused on older, retired grandfathers. Emerging literature from Northern Europe and Australasia is seeking enquiry from a more diverse group of grandfathers. Irish enquiry to date has explored grandparents (predominantly grandmothers) in the context of intergenerational relationships. There is no literature that explores the grandfather and his place in the family within contemporary Ireland. As the literature exposes a gap in enquiry from grandfathers, this enquiry asked of grandfathers in a border area between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The areas in focus are known as RAPID areas (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) identified by the Government as potentially disadvantaged. Populations in these areas are challenging to access and the group of grandfathers, many of who had spent time in prison related to sectarian and criminal activities, can be designated as hard-to-reach. Aim: The aim of this study was to develop a Grounded Theory that explained how men in identified designated disadvantaged areas of Ireland experience grandfathering. Methodology: This study was guided by a constructivist epistemology and the principles of Grounded Theory as described by Charmaz. Data was gathered in two disadvantaged or RAPID areas in an urban area at a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 30 interviews were conducted with 23 grandfathers. There was equal distribution between the two areas. Data was collected through interviews and analysed using the concurrent processes of constant comparative analysis, data collection, theoretical sampling and memo writing. During the process, the men refused to be audiotaped and interviewed as a response to an international concern and completion of the study was jeopardised. Following certain reassurances, the interviews continued unrecorded. The participants were working class men who were mostly unemployed or in part-time employment. The average age on becoming a grandfather in the sample was 47 years (range 32-62). Many of the men were exprisoners of the political Troubles in Northern Ireland or from criminal activity. Two men identified themselves as gay men (only one on audio recording). Some of the men had second marriages/relationships experiencing young children and grandchildren the same age. Findings: The participants? main concerns were related to their desire to ?pay back? for what they felt they had not given to their children. Initially the concept of ?second chances? appeared to be a main concern. Through analysis and theoretical sampling, the latent concern emerged. This wish manifested itself through behaviors and processes conceptualised as Redemption, which consisted of three subcategories. The first category ?Life before grandfathering? is the antecedent to rationalising their existence as a grandfather. The men looked back on their lives as fathers in order to look forward to being a grandfather to the next generation. Their parenthood was ruptured for various reasons, whether self-induced for national political/criminal priorities, work induced to provide for the families or out of choice. The crux was that they were absent as fathers. The second subcategory ?Life as a grandfather? reveals that being a grandfather requires some essential pre-requisites in order to demonstrate that the best interest of the child is foremost in the grandfather?s world. These pre-requisites are the building blocks of establishing intergenerational relationships and are created from the lessons learned from the sins they perceive they have committed as a father. They look to redeem their sins and look for redemption for errors made in their earlier lives. The third subcategory ?Life as a grandfather with family and professionals? explores the facilitators and barriers and the issue of power as they portray it over the family. It also focuses on how it is projected over their practice as a grandfather. A contemporary catergorisation of ?types? of grandfathers identified in the study adds to the existing typologies. In projecting the future of the children, the grandfathers raise several concerns pertinent to a future Irish society, interalia, heritage, legislation over access to children, lost grandfathering in certain cohorts of men and the use of a blood passport for maintenance of familial genetic knowledge, amongst others. Although the findings are presented in three subcategories, they are cyclical and iterative rather than hierarchical or linear. Many of the findings have been viewed and influenced by the other subcategories. The subcategories were also developed through the coconstruc...
Keyword(s): Social Work and Social Policy, Ph.D.; Ph.D. Trinity College Dublin
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Citation(s): Susan Kent, 'Redemption theory : Redeeming the sins of the father : grandfathers' experiences and practices in a border community in Ireland', [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). School of Social Work and Social Policy, 2017
Publisher(s): Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). School of Social Work and Social Policy
Supervisor(s): Timonen, Virpi
First Indexed: 2018-11-08 06:17:42 Last Updated: 2018-11-08 06:17:42