Departmental Papers (Sociology)

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Book Chapter

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The Changing American Family: Sociological and Demographic Perspectives

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The place of fathers in the family has long been viewed by social scientists as potentially precarious. From the time of Malinowski's writings, family theorists have recognized the comparatively weak link between biological fathers and their children—at least in contrast to the more obvious maternal bond created by pregnancy and childbearing (Malinowski 1930; Davis 1939, 1949; Goode 1960). Malinowski was among the first to observe that marriage is a cultural invention that establishes men's paternal rights and responsibilities. The near universality of marriage and its effectiveness in licensing parenthood have been taken as evidence that culture could regulate behavior no less successfully than biology.

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© 1992 Westview Press.



Date Posted: 25 August 2017