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Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

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This ethnographic study uses the narratives of African American, single, full-time fathers to explore the motivations precipitating their choice to parent. While the fathers had in common a number of demographic characteristics, such as full employment, residence, and support systems, which factored into their timing of and ability to take full custody, none of these are salient in their own narratives expressing why they wanted to be full-time fathers. Instead, their main motives centered on fulfilling a sense of duty and responsibility, reworking the effects of having had weak or absent fathers themselves, wanting to provide a role model for their children, and fulfilling an already established parent-child bond.


Accepted version. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 31, No. 4 (August 2002): 411-439. DOI. © SAGE Publications 2002. Used with permission.