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Fathers and the Media: Introduction to the Special Issue by ProQuest

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Since the 1970s, there has been an increased scholarly interest in fatherhood. There have been fundamental shifts in family life, gender relations, declining wage of male earners, increases in female labor force participation and in men's involvement as the primary non-maternal care provider. These cultural shifts have been mirrored in popular culture (films, television, music, and literature). This essay examines the culture of fatherhood as portrayed in four types of influential media: television, children's literature, scholarly journals, and film. Each of the authors uses a unique approach to exploring the culture of fatherhood in each medium. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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									                     Fathers and the Media:
                Introduction to the Special Issue
                                         JANICE KELLY
                                         Molloy College


     Since the 1970s, there has been an increased scholarly interest in fatherhood.
     There have been fundamental shifts in family life, gender relations, declining
     wage of male earners, increases in female labor force participation and in
     men’s involvement as the primary non-maternal care provider. These cultural
     shifts have been mirrored in popular culture (films, television, music, and lit-
     erature). This essay examines the culture of fatherhood as portrayed in four
     types of influential media: television, children’s literature, scholarly journals,
     and film. Each of the authors uses a unique approach to exploring the culture
     of fatherhood in each medium.

     Keywords: fatherhood, fathers, media, family sitcoms, children’s literature,
     roles of fathers


     Glennon and Butsch (1982) pioneered the content analysis of family sitcoms. The
three-decade span (1946-1976) they studied saw a marked shift in the family with the
advent of second-wave feminism and the increasing presence of working mothers. The
traditional family structure with a breadwinner father and homemaker mother was not
only being replaced by a culture of dual-earner households, but there was also greater
awareness of single-parent families, blended families, and extended families. And what
of the culture of fatherhood? How has it been evolving in the popular and professional
media into the 21st century?
     This issue is dedicated to the culture of fatherhood as portrayed in four types of in-
fluential media. Each of the authors uses a unique approach to exploring the culture of
fatherhood in each respective medium. Television is firmly entrenched in American
culture, and Pehlke, Hennon, Radina, and Kuvalanka address the question “Does Fa-
ther Still Know Best?” in an inductive thematic analysis of 12 episodes of popular tel-
evision sitcoms. Flannery Quinn builds on her previous examinations of the culture of
fatherhood in children’s literature via a hybrid semiotic analysis. Over the course of the


      Janice Kelly, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Molloy College.
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Janice Kelly, Department of Commu-
nication Arts and Sciences, 1000 Hempstead Avenue, P.O. Box 5002, Rockville Centre, New York 11571-
5002, Electronic mail: Jkelly@molloy.edu

Fathering, Vol. 7, No. 2, Spring 2009, 107-113.
© 2009 by the Men’s Studies Press, LLC. http://www.mensstudies.com. All rights reserved.
fth.0702.107/$14.00 • DOI: 10.3149/fth.0702.107 • Url: http://dx.doi.org/10.3149/fth.0702.107

                                                107
KELLY


20th century, child and family psychology ev
								
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