Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

Marriage and fatherhood are crucial in the current debates over welfare reform and family policy. Parenthood and “child well-being” are the ultimate holy grounds within these contestations, which revolve mainly around issues of masculinity and fatherhood. But why...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

First, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Professor Don Kulick, whose brilliant advice and enduring support were crucial throughout the years of writing this book. My research is also greatly indebted to Professor Barbara Hobson, whose wonderful mentorship...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-19

One of today’s most successful political movements claims to be situated “beyond” politics, particularly beyond gendered and sexual politics. Crucial actors in shaping and reframing U.S. debates on families belong to the fatherhood responsibility movement...

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1. The Contested Terrain of U.S. Fatherhood Politics

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pp. 21-43

Uniting around “the family” and child well-being fits into mainstream values that any U.S. citizen could support. Who could say that responsible fatherhood is a bad idea? Who is going to disagree if someone says that everybody should love his or her children...

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2. Pro-Marriage Fatherhood

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pp. 44-69

The pro-marriage wing manifests the ways the politics of gender and sexuality in the fatherhood responsibility movement are mutually reinforcing and inseparable. Marriage proponents draw on a combination of biblical and sociobiological discourses that make...

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3. Fragile-Family Fatherhood

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pp. 70-98

The sociologist Michael Kimmel describes U.S. masculinity as a homosocial enactment, where the quest for masculine accomplishments in the labor market and consumption is a constant competition between men for the sake of other men’s approval...

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4. Religion and Sports as Common Grounds for Masculinization

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pp. 99-125

The fatherhood responsibility movement is a reaction to the grievance that “the family” has become synonymous with mother and child and thus “feminized” (Blankenhorn 1995, 13; Gore 1996). In its claims for male participation and legitimacy in the family...

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5. Naughty by Nature

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pp. 126-151

Using sport and religion as all-male sites for heterosexual masculinization partly reflects the fact that marriage proponents and fragile-families representatives, despite diverging constituencies and competing perspectives, converge in conceptions of gender-specific male...

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Conclusion

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pp. 153-168

Based on the heteronormative and essentialist belief that men are “naughty by nature,” contemporary fatherhood politics tries to harness the perceived “promiscuity,” competitiveness, and aggression of men. The fatherhood responsibility movement places...

Appendix: Fieldwork Processes

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pp. 169-176

Works Cited

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pp. 177-186

Index

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pp. 187-190