Author Of The Month: Jyotsna PattnaikPublished: March 15, 2013
Father involvement in young children’s lives: A global analysis
Jyotsna Pattnaik, Professor, Teacher Education
This vital addition to Springer’s “Educating the Young Child” series addresses gaps in the literature on father involvement in the lives of young children, a topic with a fast-rising profile in today’s world of female breadwinners and single-parent households. While the significant body of theoretical understanding and empirical data accumulated in recent decades has done much to characterize the fluidity of evolving notions of fatherhood, the impact of this understanding on policy and legal frameworks has been uneven at an international level. In a field where groups of fathers were until recently marginalized in research, this book adopts a refreshingly inclusive attitude, aiming to motivate researchers to capture the nuanced practices of fathers in minority groups such as those who are homeless, gay, imprisoned, raising a disabled child, or from ethnically distinct backgrounds, including Mexican- and African-American fathers. The volume includes chapters highlighting the unique challenges and possibilities of father involvement in their children’s early years of development. Contributing authors have integrated theories, research, policies and programs on father involvement so as to attract readers with diverse interests and expertise. Material from selected countries in Asia, Australia and Africa, as well as North America evinces the international scope of their analysis. Their often interdisciplinary analyses draw, too, on historical and cultural legacies, even as they project a vision of the future in which fathers’ involvement in their young children’s lives develops alongside the changing political, economic and educational landscapes around the world.
– The book defines the term, “father,” broadly, beyond its traditional “biological” connotation. A father is an adult male figure who is meaningfully engaged in a child’s life.
– To accrue benefits of paternal involvement, the book argues for fathers’ active involvement rather than their mere presence in the lives of their children.
– While acknowledging challenges and societal stereotypes against men as fathers, the book offers multiple roles for fathers beyond their traditional provider/breadwinning role.
Authors featured in this book have made sincere efforts to preserve the uniqueness of their particular contexts while simultaneously reflecting on common themes such as examining historical and contemporary perspectives; analyzing factors that pose challenges to quality of paternal involvement; reviewing related research studies that extend and/or challenge existing scholarships on the topic; evaluating existing and emerging policies as well as imagining spaces for future policies; and suggesting feasible ideas for teachers, researchers and policy-makers.
Pattnaik’s previous two books were Childhood in South Asia: A critical look at issues, policies and programs (Information Age Publishing, 2005) included children’s issues in five South Asian countries: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka; and Encyclopedia of children’s issues worldwide: Asia and Oceania (Greenwood Publisher, 2008), which includes 25 countries in Asia and Oceania. She received her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.