It's a Setup: Fathering from the Social and Economic Margins

Dec 2020 | Timothy Black and Sky Keyes
  • Offers a comprehensive structural analysis of low-income fatherhood within the context of social forces.
  • Centers the voices of fathers in the analysis.
  • Includes interviews from 2002-2010 to capture low-income fathers' experiences of the jobless recover in the early part of the decade and the Great Recession in the latter part. 

The expectation for fathers to be more involved with parenting their children and pitching in at home are higher than ever, yet broad social, political, and economic changes have made it more difficult for low-income men to be fathers. In It's a setup Timothy Black and Sky Keyes ground a moving and intimate narrative in the political and economic circumstances that shape the lives of low-income fathers. Based on 138 life history interviews, they expose the contradiction that while the norms and expectations of father involvement have changed rapidly within a generation, labor force and state support for fathering on the margins has deteriorated. Tracking these life histories, they move us through the lived experiences of job precarity, welfare cuts, punitive child support courts, public housing neglect, and the criminalization of poverty to demonstrate that without transformative systemic change, individual determination is not enough. Fathers on the social and economic margins are setup to fail. 

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