Ethnic Minority Fathers’ Involvement in Home-school Cooperation in Denmark

  • Jørgensen, Anne Hovgaard (Projektdeltager)



    The project (2015-2018) investigates parent-school relationships from the point of view of ‘ethnic minority fathers’* in Denmark and is asking the question: How expectations of increasing school involvement in Danish public schools affects how ethnic minority fathers’ experience their fatherhood?
    The study is based on six months of fieldwork in a Danish public school, a social housing area and in various ‘father groups’. Additionally, anthropological interviews have been conducted with fathers, children, mothers and schoolteachers.

    The project looks at the construction of class and gender through an inter-sectional perspective that examines at constructions of "truths" in given contexts. Among other things, how the conflicts in the home-school cooperation are interpreted from different positional interests and prejudices, where ideas of culture or deprivation/marginalization can overshadow the conflict, although there may be others - for example conflicts about teaching methods, goals, importance etc. - at stake.
    It is an assumption that particular minority fathers are being positioned by specific gender, religion and cultural perceptions that particularly place them in a subordinate position. Over more extraordinary “including school-home-cooperation” - particularly to minority families – have been oriented towards mothers (cooking club, woman meetings, etc. Thus, there is a particular need for practices that offer fathers positions where their resources come into play. As the fathers’ position is gives according to the mothers, both parents will be a part of the study. Both parents with Danish- and minority-background will be included in the study, the different positions these parents might be offered is central for the study. The project is inspired by the phenomenological notions of ‘experience’ and aim at telling some fathers’ own stories about the upbringing of their children and aspirations for fatherhood. The project is important since most studies of parent-school relationships is done among white middle class parents and mainly mothers.

    Temporary findings: The study finds that some ethnic minority fathers do not feel that the educators acknowledge them as an important resource in the upbringing of their children. Furthermore, new technologies for communication between school and parents and the increasing expectation of participation and physical appearance in the school can make it difficult for some ethnic minority fathers to counteract the low expectations some teachers might have to them, since many of the interlocutors had physical demanding jobs and long working hours. As such, the project also engage with the meaning of class-differences among school-parents.

    *Referring to fathers with an origin in a ‘non-western country’, which, in the Danish context, most often refers to persons from Muslim countries, since the traditional immigration countries have been Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco and the vast majority of the refugees originate from Afghanistan, Lebanon, stateless Palestinians, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Somalia. It also applies for the interlocutors of this study. It is important to stress that the notion defines an extremely heterogenic group according to origin, ethnicity, education, language and experiences from their upbringing.
    Effektiv start/slut dato01/04/1501/04/18


    • Skoler, fag og institutioner
    • Keywords— Parent-school relationships, fatherhood, ethnic minorities, mistrust, parenting