Hartwick’s Elder Co-Authors “The Politics of Parenthood”

August 20, 2012

Hartwick College Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Laurel Elder has recently published a book which examines the political impact of one of life's most challenging adult experiences: having and raising children.

The Politics of Parenthood, co-authored by Elder and Steven Greene, associate professor of Political Science at North Carolina State University, was released in August, 2012. The book examines the consequences of the politicization and polarization of the American family and utilizes a comprehensive array of both quantitative and qualitative analyses to reveal for the first time how the very personal act of raising a family is also a politically defining experience.

Elder and Greene have followed trends in American politics over the past several decades to uncover significant findings.

"In The Politics of Parenthood, we tell the story of how the family has become politicized in contemporary American politics," shared Elder. "More specifically, we argue that due to dramatic changes in American family life over the past 50 years, parenthood is now a significant force shaping the political views of men and women today."

As voters prepare for the upcoming 2012 presidential election, Elder describes how parenthood is a widely discussed subject which can be heard throughout campaigns within today's politically-charged environment.

"Family and parenthood are currently dominant themes in presidential elections, with both parties agreeing that strong families are fundamental to a strong nation," continued Elder. "Both President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, have been relying on family themes -- and explicitly invoking parental identities and concerns -- in their appeals to the American public. Mitt Romney has argued that lower taxes, less government, and fewer regulations are the keys to a strong economy and strong families. Meanwhile, President Obama has framed his argument for health care reform, as well as the need for government programs and regulations more broadly - in terms of helping parents and protecting children. We look forward to continuing to dissect these themes and arguments as the campaigns progress in order to build upon our research to date."

The book, published by the SUNY Press, is currently available on The paperback edition is expected to be released in January, 2013.

For additional information, contact Elder at or 607-431-4887.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031