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From Here to MaternityBecoming a Mother$
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Ann Oakley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349341

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349341.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Domestic Politics

Domestic Politics

Chapter:
(p.188) 9 Domestic Politics
Source:
From Here to Maternity
Author(s):

Ann Oakley

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447349341.003.0009

This chapter examines fatherhood. It shows that, while biology makes fathers dispensable, society carves out particular roles for them. These roles are shaped by history and circumstance, yet in a sense the problem for every society is the same. If men are to feel involved with (or at least responsible for) their children, they must be impressed by a sense of indispensability: they must feel necessary. Our industrialised culture achieves this end via a logic of economic dependence: women and children must be supported by men. The logic is reinforced by an appeal to a set of ideas about the nature of both men and family life. A proper man fathers children, who are then visible confirmation of his sexual and social normality. A proper family is made up of a male and female parent and their children. Looked at another way, the problem for men is how to share the experience.

Keywords:   fatherhood, fathers, indispensability, industrialised culture, economic dependence, family life

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