How Low-Income Fathers Prioritize Children, Define Responsibility, and Negotiate State Surveillance

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195005
Title:
How Low-Income Fathers Prioritize Children, Define Responsibility, and Negotiate State Surveillance
Author:
Ulrich, Monika Jean
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
In this study, I interviewed 57 low-income urban fathers about how they distribute resources between children, how they define responsible fatherhood and how they negotiate state surveillance. First, using queuing theory, I find that these fathers do not distribute their resources of time and money equally but instead give more of their resources to a smaller number of children in order to maximize their impact. I identify nine criteria that men use to prioritize among their children: timing of life course interruptions, distance, formal child support, desirability of the pregnancy, restraining orders, other resources available to the child, age of the child, gender of the child, and the child's reaching out behavior. Second, instead of financial provision or daily care, these men define a responsible father as someone who: acknowledges paternity to the child, mother, and his local community; spends sufficient time with the child to be at least a mentor or "Big Brother" figure; monitors the child's home; meets the child's basic financial needs before spending money on luxuries for himself; minimizes absences in the child's life; and voluntarily distances himself from the child when it is in the child's best interest. I analyze these findings in light of the common definition of responsible fatherhood and suggest several possible theoretical explanations to explain the divergence from this definition. Third, I find that low-income men experience surveillance through three state institutions: child support enforcement, the criminal justice system, and child protective services. They resisted this surveillance primarily by becoming invisible and dropping "off the radar." Men justified their resistance in five ways: they had their own material needs, they did not want the child, they did not want to separate from their child's mother, compliance was unnecessary, or they were incompetent to comply. I analyze these findings in light of Foucault's theory of state social control which contrasts state responses to leprosy and the plague.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Father; Foucault; Low-Income Father; Multiple-Partner Fertility; Queuing; Responsible Fatherhood
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Sociology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Roth, Louise

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleHow Low-Income Fathers Prioritize Children, Define Responsibility, and Negotiate State Surveillanceen_US
dc.creatorUlrich, Monika Jeanen_US
dc.contributor.authorUlrich, Monika Jeanen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn this study, I interviewed 57 low-income urban fathers about how they distribute resources between children, how they define responsible fatherhood and how they negotiate state surveillance. First, using queuing theory, I find that these fathers do not distribute their resources of time and money equally but instead give more of their resources to a smaller number of children in order to maximize their impact. I identify nine criteria that men use to prioritize among their children: timing of life course interruptions, distance, formal child support, desirability of the pregnancy, restraining orders, other resources available to the child, age of the child, gender of the child, and the child's reaching out behavior. Second, instead of financial provision or daily care, these men define a responsible father as someone who: acknowledges paternity to the child, mother, and his local community; spends sufficient time with the child to be at least a mentor or "Big Brother" figure; monitors the child's home; meets the child's basic financial needs before spending money on luxuries for himself; minimizes absences in the child's life; and voluntarily distances himself from the child when it is in the child's best interest. I analyze these findings in light of the common definition of responsible fatherhood and suggest several possible theoretical explanations to explain the divergence from this definition. Third, I find that low-income men experience surveillance through three state institutions: child support enforcement, the criminal justice system, and child protective services. They resisted this surveillance primarily by becoming invisible and dropping "off the radar." Men justified their resistance in five ways: they had their own material needs, they did not want the child, they did not want to separate from their child's mother, compliance was unnecessary, or they were incompetent to comply. I analyze these findings in light of Foucault's theory of state social control which contrasts state responses to leprosy and the plague.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectFatheren_US
dc.subjectFoucaulten_US
dc.subjectLow-Income Fatheren_US
dc.subjectMultiple-Partner Fertilityen_US
dc.subjectQueuingen_US
dc.subjectResponsible Fatherhooden_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSociologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairRoth, Louiseen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRoth, Louiseen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGrant, Donen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFernandez, Celestinoen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10572en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659752314en_US
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