Changing discourses of fatherhood in family policies

Lynne Harne

in Violent fathering and the risks to children

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9781847429179
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304180 | DOI:
Changing discourses of fatherhood in family policies

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This chapter looks at the way fatherhood has been constructed through social policy and law and how this relates to discourses of domestic violence. Domestic violence and related child abuse are frequently regarded as minor issues in the context of how fatherhood is viewed, but in this chapter, it is argued that they should be regarded as central to family policy formulation if children's safety and wellbeing are to be taken seriously and dealt with effectively in safeguarding children from harm. Since fatherhood is usually constituted in relation to motherhood, it is necessary to consider changing constructions of mothers in families, as well as those of children and children's welfare and how far these have been affected by gendered social power relationships, where fathers as men, in general, retain more social power than women and dominant masculinities continue to be supported through government policies in families.

Keywords: social policy; domestic violence; fatherhood; motherhood; social power

Chapter.  15391 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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