- Paperback: 343 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (September 11, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520239504
- ISBN-13: 978-0520239500
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 112 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
This accessible ethnographic study offers valuable insights into contemporary family life in poor, working class and middle class American households. Lareau, an assistant sociology professor at the University of California, shadowed 12 diverse families for about a month, aiming for "intensive 'naturalistic' observation" of parenting habits and family culture. In detailed case studies, she tells of an affluent suburban family exhausted by jaunts to soccer practice, and of a welfare mother's attempt to sell her furniture to fund a trip to Florida with her AIDS-stricken daughter. She also shows kids of all classes just goofing around. Parenting methods, Lareau argues, vary by class more than by race. In working class and poor households, she says, parents don't bother to reason with whiny offspring and children are expected to find their own recreation rather than relying upon their families to chauffeur them around to lessons and activities. According to Lareau, working class and poor children accept financial limits, seldom talk back, experience far less sibling rivalry and are noticeably free of a sense of entitlement. Middle class children, on the other hand, become adept at ensuring that their selfish needs are met by others and are conversant in social mores such as shaking hands, looking people in the eye and cooperating with others. Both methods of child rearing have advantages and disadvantages, she says: middle class kids may be better prepared for success at school, but they're also likely to be more stressed; and working class and poor kids may have closer family ties, but sometimes miss participating in extracurricular activities. This is a careful and interesting investigation of life in "the land of opportunity" and the "land of inequality."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Uneqal Childhoods is as exciting to read as it is depressing in its implications." (Four stars)--"The Scotsman"
Top customer reviews
One advantage of Lareau's lucid style, is the ease with which the book can be read (dare I say enjoyed) by most readers. This book would be useful for parents wishing to compare the impact of different parental approaches or for teachers trying to assess parenting styles/philosophies based on child behavior.
Another advantage is that it could also help readers understand adults and how their attitudes, management or decision making styles in the work place are affected by their race, class and upbringing. For instance, anyone trying to understand or perhaps even struggling to work with or manage "Generation Y" (Generation me) individuals, this is an outstanding must-read primer to other books such as "Not Everyone Gets a Trophy".
Pages 165-181 and the top of page 245 relating to Stacey were so accurate that "Stacey" became office code for individuals with a high sense of entitlement coupled with a low to non-existent work ethic or performance level. For instance, `concerted cultivation' coupled with the presumption that a higher education automatically equates to higher salary sometimes leads to: "I've been told education leads to affluence; I got the education so give me the money, I deserve it!"; regardless of actual output, performance or competence, which then leads to "This is a mundane task and beneath me, I didn't get a Masters degree for this. This is boring. I also need constant direction and feedback on my performance. I was top of my class and my parents told me I was special... so when do I get that management job I deserve?".
Overall, this is a great book, it was a fun read and was well worth the below $20 price tag.
The paperback edition is of a good quality binding and paper with average sized font causing no eye strain. The text is clear and well printed with minimal or no noticeable typos. The pages offer plenty of margin space for notes; line spacing allows for easy underlines; endnotes only but worthwhile looking into during the read.
Amazon lists it as 343 pages but the text only runs to p.257, followed by 3 appendices, endnotes, a bibliography and an index which give the book a total of 331 pages.