Obama's Fatherhood Initiative: New Fathers or Neopatriarchy?

22 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2011

See all articles by Jyl Josephson

Jyl Josephson

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

President Obama has made a point of marking Father’s Day with discussions of policies related to fathers and families. These programs are an update and continuation of programs initiated in the Clinton Administration and greatly expanded in the Bush Administration through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program that was the result of welfare “reform” in the 1990s. Feminists and poverty advocates were deeply critical of the “Responsible Fatherhood” program of the Bush Administration, seeing it as ineffective, gendered, poorly targeted, and paternalistic. Criticism of the Obama proposals has been much more muted, and some feminist groups and poverty advocates have endorsed them. This paper analyzes both the symbolic and substantive aspects of this initiative as it has been continued and developed by the Obama Administration.

Keywords: Obama Administration, fatherhood initiative, racialization, symbolic politics, symbolic racism

Suggested Citation

Josephson, Jyl, Obama's Fatherhood Initiative: New Fathers or Neopatriarchy? (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901353

Jyl Josephson (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark ( email )

180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

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