This chapter clarifies the basic features of a sociological perspective and its applications to the study of fathers' involvement with, and influence on, their children. The analysis emphasizes the dynamic interplay between social structures and processes at the macro, meso, and micro levels while focusing on social psychological issues. The social, organizational, and cultural contexts for fathering are examined, as well as fathers' social capital contributions, the construction and maintenance of father identities, and fathering as a co-constructed accomplishment. These foci draw attention to how father involvement is affected by race, gender, economic considerations, and a father's relationships with his child's mother and others in the community. The chapter also describes how reflected appraisals of others may affect how a man perceives himself as a father. Relying heavily on qualitative approaches such as in-depth interviews, discourse analysis, interpretive practice, narrative practice, and dramaturgy, the authors suggest that a sociological perspective can inform knowledge about father involvement by considering the influence of social situations on father behavior. 64 references. (Author abstract modified)
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