Tribal Lands, Tribal Men, and Tribal Responsibilities: World Renewal Fathers With Criminal Records and Their Perceptions of Work and Fatherhood on and Off-Reservation
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George, Blythe Katelyn
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CitationGeorge, Blythe Katelyn. 2020. Tribal Lands, Tribal Men, and Tribal Responsibilities: World Renewal Fathers With Criminal Records and Their Perceptions of Work and Fatherhood on and Off-Reservation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe spatial concentration of inequality is one of the most enduring findings in the social sciences (Sampson 2012, Sharkey 2013, Wilson 1987, 1996), yet these theories do not encompass the experience of rural tribal reservations. Reservations are home to deeply intransigent forms of poverty and unemployment and have been for generations (Calloway 2011, Henson 2008), underscoring the need to expand existing theories of marginalized labor force attachment to include tribal reservations. Comparing the experiences of men who live on and off the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribal reservations in northwestern California, the author answers the question: how do tribal fathers with criminal records conceive of work and fatherhood?
Using over 130 hours of in-depth interviews with 35 individual cases buttressed by thirty months of participant observation and administrative record review, she finds that this population is distinguished by their “world renewal worldview.” This cultural tool-kit (Swidler 1986) fosters a strong labor force attachment, especially for jobs in the natural resource industries that resonate with tribal fathers’ conceptions of world renewal masculinity, in particular the expectation to provide for their families through stewardship of the area’s natural resources (Buckley 2002, Lara-Cooper & Lara 2019). Their commitment to work is in tension with a post-decline local economy and an extreme frequency of co-occurring substance dependencies and experiences of trauma, particularly on-reservation. Nonetheless, tribal fathers secured work by utilizing their individual initiative and the generosity of their social networks, thereby exemplifying the process of “survivance” (Vizenor 2008). While fathers differed in employment status, most described active and intense involvement with their families, both with their children and their domestic partners.
With this investigation, the author adds a new lens to studies of concentrated disadvantage by describing how the “reservation” represents both a physical space and a social institution that shapes contemporary inequality. Additionally, she nuances existing theorizations of how structural and cultural forces influence labor force attachment (Holzer 1996, Liebow 1967, Wilson 1996), social networks (Fernandez & Fernandez-Mateo 2006, Portes & Sensenbrenner 1993, Smith 2007, Portes & Manning 1985), and fatherhood (Edin et al. 2019, Edin & Nelson 2013, Roy 2006, Waller 2006) in marginalized communities.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365138
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