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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 July 18.docx

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SOC367H1- Race, Class, Gender Monday July 18, 2011 – Week 5 “Families and Paid/Unpaid Work” - Finish up on Multiculturalism and Nation lecture (from last week) - Families and Paid/Unpaid Work o Hill Collins (2000) – different writing style, not as cleanly structured, included because she elaborates on slavery as historical backdrop on fathers parenting needed because Reynolds lacks in this respect. Deal with slavery by using blood ties, family notions…family beyond economic unit, extended to community and one nation! (family) o Reynolds (2009) – more typical sociology, FAMILY VALUES ―Family values, however defined, seem[s] important to national well-being … [political rhetoric often taps into] much deeper feelings about the significance of ideas about family.‖ (Hill Collins, 2000: 47) - Collins and Reynolds try to disrupt our idea of family and the normative/universal ideas of family structure and that family arises in multiple contradictory ways... - Family impressions via pictures in class: o Harper family- generic nuclear family, happy, son idealizing Harper, steeped in Canadian nationalism, family=suitable leader… Conservative politics and family values, heterosexual Vs. o Obama family picture- more approachable, heterosexuality, relatable, more informal – Black women and hair obviously not natural Vs. o Elizabeth May “You need a green seat too!” – Not a representation of domesticity, is she married? What is her family structure then? A rejection of the strong political rhetoric of family? Can a single family be considered a women? Analysis of gender in terms of dress Vs. o Olivia Chow and Jack Layton with drag queens- is this an image of family at all? A challenge to hetero-normativity? “I love my gays no matter what” Interracial family- Collins categorization of family Vs. o Simpson’s – homogenous heterosexual family, gender roles taken by children, space where they live is highly suburban (Springfield) vs. Collins description of black mothers role Similar to questions to be on the exam… HILL COLLINS (2000) REYNOLDS (2009)  Common themes? – Patricia Hill Collins analyzes [ how the potential for unpaid work can be empowering. She talks about black women, US, work in public or traditional economic sphere and the home or traditionally reproductive private sphere (Week 3 reflection). She dismantles the idea that there is a strictly demarcated private/public concept and whether it applies universally based on ethnicity (intersection of race and ethnicity) ]. – Tracy Reynolds examines [ Non-resident black fathers are not as absentee as suggested by family policy and UK research. Discussing cultural norms of Caribbean decent and historical enslavement of African Americans]. – The key commonality between their approaches is [ How private and public sphere is negotiated between fathers and females, conscious choice to stay within home with regards to slavery, historical contexts, Collins does not talk about social capital but underlies her narrative. They both try to dismantle the idea of the nuclear family, de-center family policy and research from white- middle class nuclear narrative; they both look at how socio-economic factors influence mothers and fathers ability to parent, both deviant and acceptable.]. – The key difference between their approaches is [ Reynolds shows elaborations of fathers, and essentializing of non-resident black father term, Reynolds text is geared towards policy which has more immediate effects than Collins‘ piece ].  De-centralizing notions of family- emphasized by both Collins and Reynolds! ―Placing the experiences of women of colour in the center of feminist theorizing about motherhood demonstrates how emphasizing the issue of father as patriarch in a decontextualized nuclear family distorts the experiences of women in alternate family structures with quite different political economies.‖ (Hill Collins, 1994: 58) - Reflects standpoint theory, (discussed in Week 3) - Father as patriarch, central to the family but is something that does not work for all families so we need to dismantle such a notion ―In part, [the essentialized categorization of nonresident black father] is a direct response to existing policy research, which tends to characterize nonresident black fathering relationships as deviant from white, middle-class norms.‖ (Reynolds, 2009: 14) FAMILY POLICY • Reynolds says it is shifting based on our ideas of: – Normative family roles/structure (legalizing of same sex marriage dismantles normative heterosexual ideals, also example of Elizabeth May and lone parent structure) – Definitions of masculinity and fatherhood …” idealized notions of fatherhood increasingly valorize fathers’ participation in parenting tasks traditionally associated with motherhood (14 Reynolds) – Patterns of household economics - Dual wage earning families, mother outside the home - ______________________ REYNOLDS (2009) • Fatherhood (key policy interest) - interest in men’s thoughts feelings about fatherhood key to policy changes in UL - policy emphasizes social inequality that results for children parented by lone-mother - moral panic around educational underachievement of Black boys ―Fathering policies that specifically focus on nonresident fathering have tended to emphasize the social inequalities that result from fathers living apart from their children. Largely neglected is the wider issue of structural inequalities resulting from black fathers‘ racial-ethnic identity and racial divisions in society.‖ (Reynolds, 2009: 13) We need to think of incarceration and influence… Ex: Harper increasing prisons despite lower crime- considering historical backdrops REYNOLDS (2009) • Policy/research tend to be informed by (thus directed toward) white (typically middle-class) fathers who are ―nonresidents‖ as result of marital dissolution – Limited info about nonresident black fathers o lack of R/D contributions to myth-making and moral panics about black father (cyclical in such a sense, self-fulfilling) o problematic if majority of literature continues to assume black fathers’ absence as a starting point - More info about socioeconomic characteristics of lone black motherhood in US ―Public debates have encouraged particular forms of myth-making and moral panic surrounding black fathers‘ absence from family life … 1990s media typically portrayed black men as ‗no good,‘ ‗worthless,‘ ‗good for nothing,‘ ‗deadbeat‘ fathers … consequences of absent black fathers for social problems in black communities, such as high rates of teenage gun and knife crime and education underachievement of black boys.‖ “Everyone thinks we [black fathers] don’t care about our children; we just have them, leave them and move on. I want to say to everyone “we’re not all like that, open your eyes and you’ll see plenty of . . . good [fathers], who are trying to be there for their children,” but no one is interested in what we have to say, so the stereotypes remains.” (Phillip, age thirty-eight, London, 2000 as cited by Reynolds, 2009: 17)  such men are to blame for social problems in black communities  How can we connect Reynolds research to standpoint theory? Is it standpoint theory or something else? Standpoint theory as a methodology emphasizes lived experiences. Idea of dominance and marginality, some men might be considered in that position and where it lies in the research, thus bringing their experience to the forefront and influencing policy based on their daily basis Major aim of Reynolds work: ―A major aim of the research was to develop a methodology for interviewing and analysis that encourages nonresident black fathers to speak freely about their fathering experiences within the broader theoretical framework of social capital.‖ (Reynolds, 2009: 13) - Challenges conventional, pathological depictions of black fatherhood - Shifts emphasis away from traditional nuclear family (with conventional conjugal household structures) - Room to explore self-definitions of fatherhood, social resources used to inform fathering identity- there are fluid and non-fixed definitions of the family then! ―I typically refer to my research sample as ―non- resident black fathers‖ and present them as an essentialized racialized category. Racialized constructions of fatherhood, such as the category ―nonresident black father,‖ are both culturally produced and productive of cultural practices.‖ (Reynolds, 2009: 13-14) Q: What is the function of ‗essentializing‘ ―nonresident black fathers‖? - Essentializing is counter to sociology which looks at complexity, fluidity and contradictory while essentialism is highly positivist in nature by using fixed categories via commonalities - There are factors outside marriage divorce which have to do with class politics that frame this kind of fathering - Direct response to existing policy/research, which characterizes non-resident fathering relationships as deviant, compared to white, middle-class men - Why construct an essentialized race category? REYNOLDS (2009) • Nonresident fathers increasingly common across diverse social groups - New “ordinary” family type in Britain • Across culturally diverse societies, nonresident fathers common feature in black families - Complicating women’s work - similar to Collins work - Lone-mother households o Dual gender role of nurturer and worker/financial provider o Fathers portrayed as occupying marginal status in family home • Similar high rates/patterns in Caribbean region - Cultural practices and family structures of past continue to frame present social experiences of black people of Caribbean descent in US And UK (diaspora) o US: 85% of black children spend 5 or more years without father in home o UK: 60% of black families are lone-mother households o US Caribbean research: lower-income working class households more likely to have nonresident fathers o Supported in Reynolds article when middle class fathers felt they had more ability to negotiate with the mother on issues of development REYNOLDS (2009): FINDINGS • Fathers did not see providing financial support key determinant of fatherhood role - Mother: nurturer vs. father: bread winner- Reynolds challenges traditional notions! • Emphasized ―being there‖ - Entails: Emotional support, making selves available for children - For some, direct response to limited involvement of their own fathers • Felt their role as fathers is universally judged in relation to Western culturally prescribed notions of fatherhood - Nuclear family model (what black fathers thought they were compared to) How Collins reads the nuclear family: ―Situated in the center of family values debates is an imagined traditional family ideal. Formed through a combination of marital and blood ties, ‗normal‘ families should consist of heterosexual, racially homogenous couples who produce their own biological children. Such families should have a specific authority structure, namely, a father-head earning an adequate family wage, a stay at home wife and mother, and children. Idealizing the traditional family as a private haven from a public world, family is seen as being held together through primary emotional bonds of love and caring. Assuming a relatively fixed sexual division of labor, wherein women‘s roles are defined as primarily in the home with men‘s in the public world of work, the traditional family ideal also assumes the separation of work and family. Defined as the natural or biological arrangement based on heterosexual attraction, instead this monolithic family type is actually supported by government policy. It is organized not around a biological core, but a state- sanctioned, heterosexual marriage that confers legitimacy not only on the family structure itself but on children born in this family.‖ (Hill Collins, 2000: 47) - Micro influence macro- influencing state mandates- cyclic and thus reinforcing But she says it is not organized around biological core but rather state sanctioned policies! Social capital (Explicit in Reynolds, underlies Collins) We will discuss social capital in week 7 too! - Bourdieu’s discussion of social capital, what we learn early on in life produces certain expectations… – ―Nonresident fathers who enjoyed a strong degree of access to their children used a variety of resources and networks generated through family relationships to actively participate in their children‘s lives.‖(Reynolds, 2009: 19) – Reynolds says social capital =―‗… the values that people hold and the resources that they can access, which both result in and are the result of collective and socially negotiated ties and relationships. … creates bonding networks within family and community … networks of trust, values, reciprocity are significant to making family and community relationships work and sustain the connections that bind societies together … enable social capital to be built up over time and transmitted across generations.‖(Reynolds, 2009: 20) • results/ cohesionnce in idea that cooperation will yield positive economic and social In terms of cultural practices that have social capital= kin networks, relating to people of Caribbean decent in Reynolds case. Those fathers who had most access to children, negotiated social capital through extended kin networks REYNOLDS (2009): FINDINGS • Lacked access to forms of social capital that would enable a collective voice to combat representations of absentee/deviant black fathers in – Policy – Popular culture  The Jerry Springer Show- speaks of a variety of social ills  Political campaign adviser to JFK administration  Became a lawyer, smart man, political, busted with massage parlor and was with a prostitute which structured his honesty campaign  Major, NBC news-anchor, rants too political and failed  Show was supposed to be more political initially but to get better ratings, they highlighted social ills  Idea of confrontation between self, people, one considered deviant by entire audience
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