Book Reviews -- Father-Child Relations: Cultural and Biosocial Contexts Edited by Barry S. Hewlett

By McCandless, N. Jane | Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Autumn 1994 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Father-Child Relations: Cultural and Biosocial Contexts Edited by Barry S. Hewlett


McCandless, N. Jane, Journal of Comparative Family Studies


HEWLETT, Barry S., ed., FATHER-CHILD RELATIONS: Cultural and Biosocial Contexts. Hawthorn, N.Y.: Aldine de Gruyter, 1992, 376 pp., $59.95 hardcover.

For decades male parenting has been undermined by traditional sex-role stereotypes and the myth the males were simply incapable of such activity. As women were deemed to be more qualified, and child care became their private domain, males rarely played an active role in the child rearing process. However, recent decades have been distinguished by a new image of fatherhood and an expectation of increased male involvement in the care of their children. This increasingly visible behavior has generated great interest among scholars and a novel emphasis within the research on the childhood socialization process. Even still Hewlett points out that the western father-child interactional pattern is often considered the universal, and little is known about fathers in the rest of the world. For that reason Hewlett attempts to clarify both the variety and universality of the father's role. Hewlett's volume encompasses a cross-cultural approach, and explores the interply between biological and cultural forces which influence the father's role in the childrearing process. With the contributions of fieldworkers examining the father's role in many natural and social environments. this volume adds to a much needed understanding of the fathering role.

The ordering of the text is both logical and interesting. Chapter One sets the stage and provides for a better understanding of human parental behavior by examining nonhuman primate paternal behavior. …

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