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Professor Esther DermottB.A.(Cantab.), M.Sc.(Edin.), Ph.D.(Essex), PGCHE (Bristol)

Head of School, Professor and Head of School

Esther Dermott

Professor Esther DermottB.A.(Cantab.), M.Sc.(Edin.), Ph.D.(Essex), PGCHE (Bristol)

Head of School, Professor and Head of School

Member of

Research interests

My research expertise is on the sociological study of families, parenting, fathers, intimacy, poverty, inequality and gender, and associated implications for policy, using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.

My longstanding interest on men's parenting is based on using the concept of 'intimacy' to rethink contemporary fatherhood. Key publications in this area include Intimate Fatherhood (2008), a special issue of Families, Relationships and Societies in 2015 (with Tina Miller) and Fathers, Families and Relationships (2018 with Caroline Gatrell). I have conducted funded research on: father's employment practices, post-separation fathering, 'conversations' with fathers and, currently, the fathering practices of Syrian refugee men. I am currently on the advisory board of a Nuffield funded project on fathers in recurrent care proceedings and working with dramatists on a theatre piece about fatherhood, DadMan.

My broader current focus is on developing a sociological account of 'good' parenting that is conceptually robust and practically relevant which developed out of an interest in national and cross-national policy and popular discourse on parenting. I worked on this during a University of Bristol research fellowship on the concept and measurement of parenting and a JSPS International Fellowship at Kyoto University, Japan and am currently linking these ideas with family ethics, working with a colleague in political philosophy.

I am also exploring the relationship between familes, gender and poverty initially as a member of the Poverty and Social Exclusion funded by a large ESRC grant. My ongoing work includes analysis of intra-household poverty, and the relationship between (the lack of) resources and parenting practices: I co-edited (with Gill Main) Poverty and Social Exclusion: the nature and extent of the problem (2018) and was on the advisory board of the ESRC Fair Shares and Families research project.

I am the editor of the Bristol University Press book series Sociology of Children and Families and a co-editor of the journal Families, Relationships and Societies.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • PolicyBristolChildrenAndFamilies
  • IASurf
  • Families and Parenting
  • Gender Research Group

View research connections

Postal address:
11 Priory Road
United Kingdom

Selected research outputs

  1. Published

    Intimate Fatherhood

    Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

  2. Published
  3. Published

    Poverty versus parenting: an emergent dichotomy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Published

    What's parenthood got to do with it?: men's hours of paid work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Published

    The 'Intimate Father': Defining Paternal Involvement

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  6. Published

View all (47) »