Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, With a New Preface

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University of California Press, 2011 - Social Science - 293 pages
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"This is the most important study ever written on motherhood and marriage among low-income urban women. Edin and Kefalas's timely, engaging, and well-written book is a careful ethnographic study that paints an indelible portrait of family life in poor communities and, in the process, provides incredible insights on the explosion of mother-only families within these communities."--William Julius Wilson, author of The Bridge over the Racial Divide

"This book provides the most insightful and comprehensive account I have read of the reasons why many low-income women postpone marriage but don't postpone childbearing. Edin and Kefalas do an excellent job of illuminating the changing meaning of marriage in American society."--Andrew Cherlin, author of Public and Private Families

"Edin and Kefalas provide an original and convincing argument for why low-income women continue to embrace motherhood while postponing and raising the bar on marriage. This book is a must read for students of the family as well as for policy makers and practitioners who hope to rebuild marriage in low-income communities."--Sara McLanahan, author of Growing Up with a Single Parent

"Promises I Can Keep is the best kind of exploration: honest, incisive and ever-so-original. It'll make you squirm, and that's a good thing, especially since Edin and Kefalas try to make sense of the biggest demographic shift in the last half century. This is a must read for anyone interested in the tangled intersection of family and public policy."--Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
 

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Promises I can keep: why poor women put motherhood before marriage

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Seeking to identify the forces behind the trend for young (and often impoverished) women to become (and remain) unmarried mothers, sociologists Edin (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Kefalas (St. Joseph's ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
I Before We Had a Baby
27
2 When I Got Pregnant
50
3 How Does the Dream Die?
71
4 What Marriage Means
104
5 Labor of Love
138
6 How Motherhood Changed My Life
168
Making Sense of Single Motherhood
187
Acknowledgments
221
City Neighborhood and Family Characteristics and Research Methods
225
Interview Guide
241
Notes
249
References
269
Index
287
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About the author (2011)

Kathryn Edin is Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and coauthor of Making Ends Meet (1997). Maria Kefalas is Professor of Sociology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Working-Class Heroes (California, 2003).

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