Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility

By William Marsiglio; Sally Hutchinson | Go to book overview

Although the project emerged from Marsiglio’s earlier scholarship and firsthand experience with many of the issues described in this book, it became a reality when he secured Hutchinson’s involvement because of her extensive experience doing in-depth qualitative interviews and grounded theory research, an approach described in the first two chapters. Our respective sociological and nursing backgrounds, coupled with our own personal and gendered experiences with reproductive issues, informed the way we framed and interpreted our study.

All studies have their limitations, and ours is no exception. We fully recognize that our choice to conduct in-depth interviews with a relatively small, racially diverse sample of young men at one point in time (for all but two participants) limits our ability to answer a number of relevant questions. Men’s present experiences as well as their retrospective accounts of events and transitions in the past, some as long as ten to fifteen years ago, provide the basis of our analysis. Our approach gave the men the opportunity to place their experiences in perspective, to consider the connection between different past events and relationships, and to discuss the influence of these events and relationships on their present sense of self. Even though we do not speak directly to the issues of race, culture, and class, we recruited a purposive sample of men from diverse walks of life who have had various procreative experiences (see Appendix). We adopted a sampling strategy consistent with the grounded theory method, which emphasizes the importance of diversity to the researchers’ ability to generate relevant concepts. Our initial challenge—to identify some of the key features of the social psychological processes associated with these young men as sexual and procreative beings—was formidable. Clearly, future studies should look more closely at our conceptual terrain by considering whether and how race, culture, and class issues affect the way young men subjectively experience and express their procreative identities. That work may best be achieved through selective sampling and analytic strategies, including an ethnographic approach.

Because race was not a focus of our interviewing strategy, and did not appear to be a critical factor that shaped the processes of interest to us after reading the transcripts, participants’ race is absent from our analysis of the interviews. One practical consequence is that we do not use race as a descriptor when we introduce participants into the text. We initially thought it might bring participants to life for the reader; later we concluded that to do so would be inconsistent with our analytic strategy and would imply that race holds more meaning at this time than mere descrip-

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Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface v
  • 1 - Setting the Stage 1
  • 2 - Studying Young Single Men 31
  • 3 - Becoming Aware, Being Aware 61
  • 4 - Turning Points in Identity 110
  • 5 - Romantic Involvements 139
  • 6 - Thinking about Fatherhood 176
  • 7 - Looking Forward 209
  • Appendix - Participant Profiles 241
  • Notes 245
  • References 259
  • Index 273
  • About the Authors 280
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