Work, Love, and the Family Involvement of African American Men

Main Article Content

Vânia Penha-Lopes


Considerable variation exists in African American men’s involvement in family life. In-depth interviews were conducted with forty-five Black fathers of young children regarding their life histories and self-reported contribution to the division of housework. This article examines the impact of men’s job experiences and love relationships on their family involvement. Paternal involvement is both a function of structural constraints and of men’s interpretations and actions about them. Of paramount importance are how men construe their experiences on the job market and how they feel about the breadwinning ethic. In addition, women affect men’s behavior by mediating their connections with their children, either as former lovers or as current partners. For those who lived with women, their participation in housework is also related to their partners’ employment status.

Article Details

How to Cite
Penha-Lopes, V. (2008). Work, Love, and the Family Involvement of African American Men. AmeriQuests, 6(1).
Author Biography

Vânia Penha-Lopes, Bloomfield College

Vânia Penha-Lopes is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bloomfield College, in New Jersey and co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Brazil (2008-09), in New York City. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she has a Bachelor's of Social Sciences from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a Master's of Arts in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Sociology, both from New York University. In 2006-07, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, where she studied the first graduating class of Brazilian university quota students. Dr. Penha-Lopes has received a number of awards, including the Carter G. Woodson Predoctoral Fellowship in Afro-American and African Studies, from the University of Virginia, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Scholarship for Study Abroad. She has given a number of presentations, both in the U.S. and in Brazil, about the implementation of affirmative action in Brazil. She is the author of several articles and book chapters on comparative race relations, African American fatherhood, and racism in Brazilan, and was co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Brazil (2008-09).