Although the modern American kinship system is nominally a bilateral system, the very definition of kin ties is based on the principles of patriarchy. Women do not gain their rights to their children in this society as mothers, but as father-equivalents, sources of genetic material. In child rearing as in childbearing, women may take on the role of fathers to their children, substituting poorer women to do the traditional mothering work. The resultant recasting of the classic Oedipal drama in terms (...) of class and race rather than gender is described. This article argues that we must move beyond patriarchal definitions of the relations between parents and children, and beyond modifications that simply extend to some women, most often at cost to other women, some of the privileges of patriarchy. (shrink)
Each contributor to this book has used personal experience as the basis from which to frame his individual sociological perspectives. Because they have personalized their work, their accounts are real, and recognizable as having come from 'real' persons, about 'real' experiences. There are no objectively-distanced disembodied third person entities in these accounts. These writers are actual people whose stories will make you laugh, cry, think, and want to know more.