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In Defense of Single-Parent Families Hardcover – December 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814718698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814718698
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,890,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Dowd (law, Univ. of Florida) has written a strong argument in favor of public support for needy families bringing up young children, particularly those where single parents are sole caretakers. She explains how society stigmatizes single parents, especially those who are female and black, as immoral, shiftless, and unworthy of help. Not only denigrated, female single parents are also victims of gender hierarchy in the application of divorce, employment, and welfare laws. Dowd argues that the quality of family functioning is related more to the level of economic and social support present than to the number of parents. She feels strongly that society should support in meaningful ways the nurture of children and their caregivers regardless of family structure. A thoughtful analysis of a serious problem in this country; recommended for professionals, academics, and the public.?Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A strong argument in favor of public support for needy families bringing up young children, particularly those where single parents are the sole caretakers. . . . A thoughtful analysis of a serious problem in this country; recommended for professionals, academics, and the public."

-Library Journal,

"Dowd does a good job of explaining how discrimination in the workplace and the devaluation of those who provide child care works against the single parent. . . . Should provoke lively classroom discussion."

-Choice,

"If there is a less-popular cause in this country than single-parent families, it doesn't come readily to mind. But Dowd presents a very different view of single-parent families as pioneers in the development of nonpatriarchal family structures, arguing that the perceived inferiority of single-parent families has more to do with bias and poverty than the lack of a male figure, and that we need legal change to increase employment, income and community support."

-National Law Journal,

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I agree with Ms Dowd's defense of single parent families, but she leaves out a very important group-widowed parents. It is not only our political system who misunderstands our family structure, even our friends tend to misunderstand our responsibilities and judge us rather than offer a helping hand. One woman who I assume meant well, (but I cannot be sure if she did this out of pure spite at me for removing my teenage daughter from her clutches) actually created dissention between my child and me because she interfered without asking my permission. Well meaning people, who are in two parent families, often judge us as neglectful people who are not up to the task of seeing our children's needs. They never take the time, however, to ask if I could use a hand with the yard or cars or when I or one of my children are sick. I do not even ask for the help, because I know it would not be done in the spirit of looking out for my family's welfare, but rather it would be done grudgingly and with much resentment. I also get put down for not socializing during the work week, not having time for gossip, etc. I am just a busy widowed mother who has no time for outside interference between me and my children. I have already put one success out there in the world and am working on 2 and 3.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Not only did I find the discussion of legal, cultural and demographic influences on various family structures well-reasoned and comprehensive, but Ms. Dowd's final vision for fusion of "nontraditional" families into our broader understanding of the family structure was reminiscent of a quote by Foucalt, where he said: "What is good is something that comes through innovation. The good does not exist like that in an atemporal sky, with people who would be like astrologers of the Good, whose job is to determine the favorite nature of the stars. The good is defined by us, it is practiced, it is invented." For me, the book provided an insight into the marginalization of "nontraditional" families, and the inherent falsehood of those static views of the family structure that have tended to discredit family structures that fall outside the paradigmatic circumference.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book as a new single parent. It gave me so much to think about. What's more, it gave me the documentation and the argument to explain why my gut feeling that being a single parent was *good*, was right. This book has dug me out of numerous arguments with people who think that the only way to have a successful family is with a Mom and a Dad. It has wonderful references, and puts together a meaningful look at family structures.
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