Evolution of sociological explanations of fatherhood: From H. Spencer to R. Connell

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The author considers and compares several approaches to the concept of fatherhood in the Western sociological tradition: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The issue of fatherhood and men’s parental practices are marginalized in the Russian social studies of the family, which reinforces the traditional inequality in family relations when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to the mother’s. However, in the Western critical men’s studies there are several periods: development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a behavioral model for his ascendants. Social constructivism considers man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and hegemony over the woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with its social, cultural and personal context. The article shows that these approaches are directly connected with the level of social development, perception of marriage and family institutions, and the level of gender order egalitality.

About the authors

A N Lipasova

National Research University - Higher School of Economics

Author for correspondence.
Email: lipasova@mail.ru
Moscow, Russia


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