Securing Fatherhood Through Kin Work: A Comparison of Black Low-Income Fathers and Families in South Africa and the United States.

Journal Name
Journal of Family Issues
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Madhavan, Sangeetha.
Roy, Kevin.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language
In this article, the authors examine how low-income Black men in South Africa and the United States work with their kin to secure fathering and ensure the well-being of children. They use ethnographic and life history data on men who fathered children from 1992 to 2005 to demonstrate how fathers' roles as kin workers enable them to meet culturally defined criteria for responsible fatherhood in two contexts marked by legacies of racism, increasing rates of incarceration and HIV/AIDS, and a web of interlocking inequalities that effectively precludes them from accessing employment with good wages. Using a comparative framework based on kin work, the authors identify three common processes in both contexts--negotiation between maternal and paternal kin, pedifocal approach, and flexible fathering--that enable men and their kin networks to secure father involvement in economically marginalized communities. The article concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of the findings. (Author abstract)

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