Study title
Gender Perspectives in Family Socialization
Ref study 13771
Study language English
Contributing institutions

  • Parenting
  • Serbia
  • RRPP Data
  • Montenegro
Geographical space
Srbija i Crna Gora
  • Serbia
  • Montenegro
This research project examines the values and upbringing practices of fathers and mothers
in the process of gender socialization of children in families in Serbia and Montenegro. The
main motivation for examining the values in contemporary Serbian and Montenegrin families stems from the fact that tendencies for re-patriarchalization and re-traditionalisation of social life have been noticed in these countries. Starting point is that the patriarchal matrix is still the modeling agent for the gender system of relations within the families.

The main goal of the project is to examine the process of social construction of gender by analyzing values and upbringing practices of fathers and mothers, which reflect the socio-cultural and historical contexts, which in turn support this construct through the reproduction of the patriarchal matrix.

Specific goals of the project are:
1. Determining the role, upbringing practices and attitudes of parents in the process of gender socialization of boys and girls in the family;
2. Determining the parents’ perception about the gender components of upbringing practices;
3. Determining the dominant model of upbringing practices in the public discourse intended for parents.

The purpose of the research is to enrich the corpus of scientific knowledge in this topic area with new data on social construction of gender in Serbia and Montenegro. The research can also be a basis for subsequent activities by the public sector in terms of defining the course in which changes should take place, as well as a reference for defining national development strategies.
Main results are:
- There are certain differences between certain features of examined parents (gender, education, urban/rural area) and married couples as a whole (economic status of families) and their orientation towards traditional or modern values and upbringing practices in the process of gender socialization of children within the family;
- There are certain differences between dominant models of gender socialization of boys and girls in families in Serbia and Montenegro;
- There are strong gender polarization in the media related to family;
- Gender roles and the polarization of their presentation is more prominently leaning to traditional, patriarchal and modern models in online media intended to parents; values relating to gender roles stress out the heterosexual models; some presence of alternative gender role descriptions is also noted in the media;
- The modern family model is dominant, but the post-modern forms are also present in the media.
Methods (description)
Withing this study researchers conducted qualitative interviews with both parents of household (25 households in Serbia and 25 in Montenegro). The interview covered different areas of family life and parenting. They also conducted a content analysis of online media in the Serbian language. It was prepared as a structural complement to qualitative online research. Content related to parenting, children raising and growing up has been analyzed.

The main issue that research team was faced are related to predefining the family in terms of the operationalexplanation that precedes the sampling stage. Family is operationally predefined as a nuclear unit consisting of two parents of different sex/gender and their minor children living in the same household, and referring to the modern nuclear family. Selecting a group to research is difficult and binding task, as we had to make a choice of whom to speak to in a limited frame of qualitative research design in respect to the territorial integrity of the sample Aiming to investigate the socialisation models and perceptions of the still dominant family structure, the researchers chose to speak to people from this particular group. The logic behind choosing the middle class is somewhat similar – due to the limitations of the numbers in the sample, we had to renounce some aspects, and to make a cut-off line above and below the middle class. The Serbian society is transitional or soon to be post transitional, and researchers choose for the sample to use the transition definition of the middle class, that is defined by the legal and the grey economy income (the Serbian invention of the “grey” economy, whilst this particular economy colour practitioners do not pay taxes, but also do not have an income coming from criminal operations, other than tax evasion that is). Additional to income, they considered the middle class in Serbia and in Montenegro lifestyle factors, including the (financial) ability to reach the needed institutions and services for the daily functioning of a family, assessed average ability to cover the monthly expenses of the household, and a potential small investment power (including being able to afford going on vacation, having extra classes for the children, owning all needed house hold items, and appliances, etc). The original sample was planned to be 25 families in each country, which meant 50 interviewed pairs (mothers and fathers) in each sample. The final sample in Serbia included 25 families, from six municipalities, having urban vs. rural division as a second level divider, with 14 families living in urban areas, and 11 in rural areas. The sample in Montenegro had 27 families, from seven municipalities, with 17 families living in urban areas, and 10 in rural areas. Slight differences in the quotas came from the geographical specifics of the observed countries. Serbian population is in majority grouping in the regional centres, and the surrounding villages, and in Montenegro, the existence of the long sea coast is influencing the urban representation in the sample. The main concern regarding the sample was in ensuring the possibility to spot different parenting strategies in regional terms, as well as the country and the genders of the children, and they are noted as such, so that the research team is content with the outcome of the sampling.

Methods of bias control the researchers used in the field included using different trained researchers to conduct the interviews, gender matching in the Serbian sample between the male and female interview partner and the interviewer. Other than the data collecting, the transcribing was done by several different people, and was sample-controlled before the initial coding. The coding procedure was team controlled (the person doing the coding was not doing the critical reading of the codebook, but received feedback from the team members working on the other parts of the project).
Methods (instruments)
  • Qualitative interviews
  • Analysis of content
  • Standardised interviews
Replicated study No
Financed by

Mandating institution(s)
  • University of Fribourg, Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe, Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans - RRPP, Bd de Pérolles 90, 1700 Fribourg
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
To access these data and the related documentation, please send an email to Christina Bornatici ( mentioning:
• The data you are interested in (the project's title and reference number);
• For what purpose will the data be used (research or teaching)
• A brief description of the expected research;
• Your current status (student, professor…) and university
• If a publication is expected;
• The duration of use (3, 6, 12 or 24 months).

WARNING - Data available only in Serbian
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 13.01.2020
Date modified 25.03.2020
Start - End date 01.01.2012 - 31.01.2013