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Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Lifeby Annette Lareau
Synopses & Reviews
Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Here are the frenetic families managing their children's hectic schedules of "leisure" activities; and here are families with plenty of time but little economic security. Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously--as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided. Each of these approaches to childrearing brings its own benefits and its own drawbacks. In identifying and analyzing differences between the two, Lareau demonstrates the power, and limits, of social class in shaping the lives of America's children.
The first edition of Unequal Childhoods was an instant classic, portraying in riveting detail the unexpected ways in which social class influences parenting in white and African American families. A decade later, Annette Lareau has revisited the same families and interviewed the original subjects to examine the impact of social class in the transition to adulthood.
Table of Contents
Concerted cultivation and the accomplishment of natural growth — Social structure and daily life — Part I. Organization of daily life. The hectic pace of concerted cultivation: Garrett Tallinger ; A child's pace: Tyrec Taylor ; Children's play is for children: Katie Brindle — Part II. Language use. Developing a child: Alexander Williams ; Language as a conduit for social life: Harold McAllister — Part III. Families and institutions. Concerted cultivation in organizational spheres: Stacey Marshall ; Concerted cultivation gone awry: Melanie Handlon ; Letting educators lead the way: Wendy Driver ; Beating with a belt, fearing "the school": Little Billy Yanelli ; The power and limits of social class — Part IV. Unequal childhoods and unequal adulthoods. Class differences in parents' information and intervention in the lives of young adults ; Reflections on longitudinal ethnography and the families' reactions to Unequal childhoods ; Unequal childhoods in context: results from a quantitative analysis / Annette Lareau, Elliot Weininger, Dalton Conley, and Melissa Velez — Afterword — Appendix A. Methodology: enduring dilemmas in fieldwork — Appendix B. Theory: understanding the work of Pierre Bourdieu — Appendix C. Supporting tables — Appendix D. Tables for the second edition.
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