Fathers' Work and Children's Distinctive Lifestyle: Children of Israeli High-Tech Men
AbstractThis study sheds light on the lifestyle of children of R&D male engineers as distinctive in their socio-spatial milieu, and as subordinate to adults. In Israel, a world high tech center, family life is a key constituent of the national culture. As many R&D engineers are family men, their families also bear the burden of their highly committing jobs which results in their being away from home a great deal. Based on in-depth interviews with twenty-five children aged 7-13 in high-tech families, this study reveals the distinctiveness of their lifestyle, by comparing it with that of their friends, and of their 'othering; by singling out expressions of marginality and dependence. These are presented on three spatial scales, home, cyberspace and locale. Attention is also paid to the children's spatial mobility. The use of computers in their homes is most prominent, usually supervised by the parents. Computers are used intensively to maintain daily contacts with their fathers and to support the children's local network; they don't seem to disrupt the children's outdoor activities which are similar to those of their friends. However, the children often feel that because of their fathers' work they are compelled to visit places such as a distant sports club and recreation sites selected by the fathers' employers. As a result of this and of their fathers frequent business trips these children possess greater geographical knowledge than most of their friends. In all, the interviews show that these children compensate for their absent fathers by developing an interest in their fathers' world of work.
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