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An Analysis of Father Absence in Contemporary African American Families: A Social-Historical Perspective

Author: LiuXingHua
Tutor: ChenZhiJie
School: Tianjin Normal University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: African American families father absence slavery historical reasons social reasons
CLC: K712.54
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 172
Quote: 1
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Executive Summary


Family as the cell of the society, its wholeness and health have great influence on the stability and development of the society. Father as an important family number, his absence has direct impact on the functions of the family. Father absence means without half of the financial support and for children it means no moral model to socialize their behavior. Recently, fathers are disappearing from the lives of their children and father absence is a more and more common phenomenon that can be found among different races in the United States. However, among those who have suffered from father absence, the African American communities are the worst hit. In fact, the father absence phenomenon has a long history. It can be traced back to the slavery and has lasted up to now. Over the last twenty years of the 20th century, it has become more and more serious.This paper intends to study the reasons for the long lasting crisis of father absence in the African American families by going through the history and present of the African American families.Chapter 1 of this paper gives a brief introduction of the historical and present research of the Negro family. Chapter 2 starts with a discussion of the definition and functions of the family, in which one can have a brief glance at the change in the American family models. Then it focuses on the fatherhood and the role of a father in the family. Chapter 3 focuses on the father absence in the African American families and its negative effect on their children. Chapter 4 explores the historical reasons for the father absence in African American families from various aspects through their living conditions under slavery. In chapter 5, the author explores the social reasons which lead to the high rate of father absence in African American families. The inferior status of black male from economical and educational discrimination and the relationship of black male and female as well as their changing attitude towards marriage and family are taken into consideration.The final part of this paper proceeds to the conclusion that the father absence crisis has a long history in African American families. The slavery cruelly deprived the black males of their rights as independent citizens and a responsible husbands and father. The present shifting of the economic structure and the racial, educational and employment discrimination make the position of the black males inferior not only to that of their white counterparts but also to that of their black female partners. In addition, the new attitude towards marriage is quite different from the one in the past. All of the elements working together are leading to the low rate of marriage and high rate of divorce and birth without the wedlock, which keeps the black males/fathers far from their families.

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Abstract (Chinese)     5-7
Abstract (English)     7-9
Acknowledgements     9-10
Table of Contents     10-12
Chapter 1 Introduction     12-16
Chapter 2 Family and Fatherhood     16-24
2.1 Family     16-20
2.1.1 Definition and Functions of the Family     16-18
2.1.2 The Shifting Conception of American Families     18-20
2.2 Fatherhood     20-24
2.2.1 Definition of Father     20-22
2.2.2 Role of the Father in the Family     22-24
Chapter 3 Father Absence in the African American Families     24-29
3.1 Father Absence in African American Families     24-27
3.2 Costs of Father Absence     27-29
Chapter 4 Historical Reasons for Father Absence in African American Families     29-43
4.1 Economic Dependence     30-31
4.2 Unstable Family Structure     31-36
4.3 Sexual Abuse     36-38
4.4 Skewed Sex Ratio     38-43
Chapter 5 Social Reasons for Father Absence in African American Families     43-59
5.1 The Economic Factors     43-47
5.2 The Familial-Environmental Factors     47-52
5.3 Gender Conflicts     52-59
Conclusion     59-61
References     61-69

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CLC: > History, geography > History of America, > North America > United States > Imperialist period ( 1898 ~) > After World War II ( 1945 ~)
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