Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life

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University of California Press, Sep 20, 2011 - Social Science - 480 pages
2 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.
 

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User Review  - Karen59 - LibraryThing

Unequal Childhoods changed my views on child development and the impact of race and class more than any other book I have read. Truthfully, I read this book several years ago but wanted to make sure ... Read full review

Unequal childhoods: class, race, and family life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this thought-provoking book, Lareau (sociology, Temple Univ.) challenges the widely held perception of America as "the land of opportunity," where anyone, no matter what his or her background, can ... Read full review

Contents

1 Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth
1
2 Social Structure and Daily Life
14
PART I ORGANIZATION OF DAILY LIFE
33
PART III FAMILIES AND INSTITUTIONS
161
PART IV UNEQUAL CHILDHOODS AND UNEQUAL ADULTHOODS
259
Afterword
342
Enduring Dilemmas in Fieldwork
345
Understanding the Work of Pierre Bourdieu
361
Appendix C Supporting Tables
365
Appendix D Tables for the Second Edition
377
Notes
385
Revised Bibliography
429
Index
453
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Annette Lareau is the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She is faculty member in the Department of Sociology with a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Education. Lareau is the author of Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education (1989; second edition, 2000), and coeditor of Social Class: How Does it Work? (2009); and Education Research on Trial: Policy Reform and the Call for Scientific Rigor (2009); and Journeys through Ethnography: Realistic Accounts of Fieldwork(1996).

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