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.
"A fascinating study." ---Malcolm Gladwell
The second edition of Annette Lareau's Unequal Childhoods contains the classic analysis of how social class shapes parenting and revisits the original families a decade after the original study to examine the effects of social class in the transition to adulthood.
About the Author
Annette Lareau is the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor in the sociology department at the University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of California-Santa Cruz, she earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley. She is the author of Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education and coeditor of Social Class: How Does it Work?, Education Research on Trial, and Journeys Through Ethnography: Realistic Accounts of Fieldwork. Xe Sands has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art, including recordings of Thrill of the Chase by Christina Crooks and Buttered Side Down by Edna Ferber. From poignant young adult fiction to powerful first-person narrative, Sands's characterizations are rich and expressive and her narrations evocative and intimate. She has also won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for her narration of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein.