Is Research on Fathering Too U.S. Centric?
In Fathers in Cultural Context, edited by David Shwalb, Barbara Shwalb, and Michael Lamb, chapter authors review the latest research on fathering in cultures across a variety of countries throughout the world. As reviewer Michael Connor summarizes, there are several topics discussed in the book including gender roles, historical accounts of fathering in the country of focus, contemporary fathering, notions of fatherhood, fathering activities, family structures, parenting styles, and father-child interactions. Connor takes issue, however, with the book's Western/European slant. He notes that chapter authors did not use the explicit experiences of fathers from the cultures they write about. In the editors' own words: "Research is guided by theory, but if the theory continues to derive exclusively from the US-Europe, the fathering literature cannot avoid some degree of … U.S.-centrism" (p. 396).
Do you agree with the editors, that the fathering literature cannot avoid some degree of U.S./Western centrism? Why or why not? How does this comment apply more broadly to the literature in psychology? What is the solution?
By Michael Connor
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(22)