Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
This article reconsiders the development of fathers' rights politics within the legal arena in recent years, seeking to trace a way through the often highly polarised debates in this area. The paper argues that studies of fatherhood and law reform have much to gain from incorporating a more complex and multi-layered account of the interconnected nature of the personal lives of women, children and men. In the context of significant shifts in the messages law sends about the 'good father', as well as within parenting cultures, the paper tracks changes within fathers' rights activism to shifting ideas about masculinities and emotion, rationality and intimacy. Set against a framework of gender neutrality and formal equality, and of a wider policy agenda that has sought to engage fathers in families over the past decade, the greater prominence of fathers' rights politics can be understood as one aspect of a complex renegotiation of men's role as parents that has occurred in the light of a rethinking of paternal responsibility in law. (Author abstract)
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