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Becoming a father / refusing fatherhood: how paternal responsibilities and rights are generated

Ives, Jonathan (2007)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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In this thesis I explore, both philosophically and empirically, the moral significance of genetic relatedness within the father/child relationship. In doing so I utilise a novel ‘empirical bioethics’ approach, in which I use specifically gathered qualitative data to inform the philosophical debate. I present qualitative data, gathered over 12 focus groups, which explores men’s normative constructions of fatherhood. The data suggests that fatherhood is essentially a social relationship, constructed within a narrative of responsibility, and that there is a distinction between being a ‘father’ and being a ‘progenitor, both of which give rise to different kinds of responsibilities and rights. I go on to construct a normative framework of paternal rights and responsibilities, which is informed by the qualitative data. I make a distinction between ‘material’ and ‘paternal’ responsibility, and in doing so I argue that a man can cause a child to exist, and be fiscally responsible for a child, without being a father. I argue that a man becomes a father (in a valuable sense), and earns paternal rights, when he accepts paternal responsibility and forms a paternal relationship with a child.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Draper, Heather and Pattison, Helen (1955-) and Williams, Clare
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Medicine
Department:Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Department of Primary Care and General Practice
Subjects:R Medicine (General)
BJ Ethics
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:254
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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