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Religion and the Authority in American Parenting

Religion and the Authority in American Parenting

(p.141) 7 Religion and the Authority in American Parenting
Consuming Religion
Kathryn Lofton
University of Chicago Press

This chapter reimagines the history of parenting as a subject for the study of religion. Through a schematic historical description of parenting in the United States, it tracks the expanded responsibilities and increased social expectations for parents in the formation of child identity. Focusing on the concept of parental authority, it argues that the relationship of authority between parent and child is an important document of religious history in a secular age, and encourages future scholars to explore parenting habits, prescriptions, and admonitions as an archive for religious studies.

Keywords:   parenting, lactivism, authority, democracy, parenting manuals, G. Stanley Hall, Benjamin Spock, service economy, Michel Foucault, scientia parentis

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