The Challenges and aspirations of professional middleclass parenting in Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Student: Sevil Toğay



Drawing on 15 interviews with middle-class parents who occupy professional positions at work-life, this study examines the intersectionality of gender and class in professional middle-class parenting experiences and practices- a family strategy for class reproduction. Gendered segregated networks in parenting are existent and this is why woman and man have similar and different parenting experiences as they differently do parenting in the midst of expectations of the intensive parenting ideology, class position, work-home balance. In this study, parenting is considered from a relational viewpoint, and it is shown that how parents actively construct their parenting experiences and practices. It is observed that both mothers and fathers want to distance themselves from the past and their parents’ parenting style. However, for mothers, it is seen that being a good mother means not complying with the traditional parenting roles but being a professional working mother who can cultivate individuality in children and support children’s autonomy. For fathers, spending more time with children and being fond of open-sharing are revealed as what defines them. On the other hand, being stuck in between the work-home life balance, the gender divide in parenting continues as mothers are still primary parents, but fathers are outsider-within. Professional middle-class parenting practices are also shown as an important component of this parenting: getting professional advice on parenting; reading the books and choosing foreign private schools and good activities. These practices that reproduce and consolidate professional middle-class parenting also uncover how mothers’ parenting is more embedded in multi-dimensional public and private anxieties as fathers do only concern for their individual selves in their parenting practices.