This is a much revised, and reduced, version of a public lecture given at the Tavistock Clinic, London, in October 1988. I am grateful to the Clinic for inviting me to give it, and to (the late) John Bowlby, Richard Carvalho, Lloyd de Mause, Davis S. Goldberg, Victoria Hardie, Elsa Jones, Wilhelmina Kraemer-Zurné, Charlie Lewis, Peter Loader, Mando Meleagrou, Mary Sue Moore, Barbara Noske, Martin Richards, Michael Rustin, Sheila Sullivan, and Ann Zoidis for critical comments on earlier drafts.
The Origins of Fatherhood: An Ancient Family Process†
Article first published online: 30 JUL 2004
Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 377–392, December 1991
How to Cite
KRAEMER, S. (1991), The Origins of Fatherhood: An Ancient Family Process. Family Process, 30: 377–392. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1991.00377.x
- Issue published online: 30 JUL 2004
- Article first published online: 30 JUL 2004
- Manuscript received September 13, 1990; Revised May 21, 1991; Accepted July 30, 1991
Despite appearances to the contrary (fostered by anthropocentric nursery stories), a distinct role for male parents does not exist in nature. Fatherhood was invented by humans during the agricultural revolution about six thousand years ago. Symbolized by the new god-king, it incorporated the mother's originally superior role in primate families—the control or ownership of children. The male deity could even make his own offspring without female help. This inflated political figure was designed to compensate for the male's modest role in procreation, once the facts of life were known. Patriarchy was born out of an envious attack on mothers.