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Download Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Second Edition, with an Update a Decade Later Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Second Edition, with an Update a Decade Later, by Annette Lareau Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (708 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annette Lareau Narrator: Xe Sands Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is a careful and interesting investigation of life in ‘the land of opportunity’ and the ‘land of inequality.’”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] sensitive, well-balanced book.”

    Library Journal

  • “Annette Lareau has written another classic. Her deep insights about the social stratification of family life and childrearing have profound implications for understanding inequality.”

    Adam Gamoran, professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by AJ | 2/18/2014

    " Good read, although her findings on motherhood may be colored by the fact that she herself is not a mother "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alex | 2/16/2014

    " some interesting findings but extremely repetitive, she beats you over the head with the message "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Michelle | 1/22/2014

    " It was an interesting ethnography of 12 families. I found it interesting. I need more information about the process of conducting ethnographies and conclusions drawn from such studies. Her assertion of parenting styles of middle class vs. working/poor classes (concerted cultivation vs. accomplishment of natural growth)I found intriguing. I think it is worth reading by teachers and human service professionals. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alexis | 1/19/2014

    " Makes some good points, but the author's tripping all over herself trying to avoid siding with the middle class was hard to take. She says several times that physical punishment used to be the norm--as though this makes it okay? I mean she shows plenty of concern that one of the children can barely read even though illiteracy "would have been virtually universal in certain time periods" (as she says of the practice of hitting children). I mean I appreciate her point that most books of this type are going to be written by middle class people so we have to try to avoid normalizing that culture, but her attempts are clumsy. Another example is that middle class children's "sense of entitlement" is consistently used to explain why they feel comfortable asking questions of a doctor. Really? We need to stigmatize the ability to properly interact with a doctor? Though she mentions a working-class person's ability, in contrast, to argue with a landlord or cable company, she does not talk about a sense of entitlement to explain the behavior in those cases. I end up feeling that the book begs the questions. Yes, the middle class is in sync with major cultural institutions and this gives them advantages. But discussions of what stops others from doing the same don't precisely tie into the thesis. Yes, economic constraints keep their children from expensive extracurriculars. Yes, the parents' education and occupational experience limits their understanding of professional jargon (a point that really could have been made more of in the "What is to be done" section). But the author seems to admit that these have to do with socioeconomic status. Why the working-class and poor families can't make cultural adjustments, the way the middle-class did, like not physically punishing their children or asking them questions to improve their verbal skills is an explanation that is started but never really resolves. Maybe the problem is that if I took a test on this book I would have trouble answering the question "How did the researchers determine a subject's class?" If class is based on cultural things, then a working-class person performs what the author wants to call working-class culture _by definition_. Thus the difficulty of discussing class in America. "

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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 PhD 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.