Unequal Childhoods 2
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This book is a powerful portrayal of class inequalities in the United States. It contains insightful analysis of the processes through which inequality is reproduced, and it frankly engages with methodological and analytic dilemmas usually glossed over in academic texts.
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.
While problems of childhood poverty are most widespread in developing countries, formidable inequalities exist in more prosperous countries. A major aim of the book is to address the question of unequal childhoodsand the ways in which they are.
Class differences permeate the neighborhoods, classrooms, and workplaces where we lead our daily lives. But little is known about how class really works, and its importance is often downplayed or denied. In this important new volume, leading sociologists systematically examine how social class operates in the United States today. Social Class argues against the view that we are becoming a classless society. The authors show instead the decisive ways social class matters—from how long people live, to how they raise their children, to how they vote. The distinguished contributors to Social Class examine how class works in a variety of domains including politics, health, education, gender, and the family. Michael Hout shows that class membership remains an integral part of identity in the U.S.—in two large national surveys, over 97 percent of Americans, when prompted, identify themselves with a particular class. Dalton Conley identifies an intangible but crucial source of class difference that he calls the "opportunity horizon"—children form aspirations based on what they have seen is possible. The best predictor of earning a college degree isn't race, income, or even parental occupation—it is, rather, the level of education that one's parents achieved. Annette Lareau and Elliot Weininger find that parental involvement in the college application process, which significantly contributes to student success, is overwhelmingly a middle-class phenomenon. David Grusky and Kim Weeden introduce a new model for measuring inequality that allows researchers to assess not just the extent of inequality, but also whether it is taking on a more polarized, class-based form. John Goldthorpe and Michelle Jackson examine the academic careers of students in three social classes and find that poorly performing students from high-status families do much better in many instances than talented students from less-advantaged families. Erik Olin Wright critically assesses the emphasis on individual life chances in many studies of class and calls for a more structural conception of class. In an epilogue, journalists Ray Suarez, Janny Scott, and Roger Hodge reflect on the media's failure to report hardening class lines in the United States, even when images on the nightly news—such as those involving health, crime, or immigration—are profoundly shaped by issues of class. Until now, class scholarship has been highly specialized, with researchers working on only one part of a larger puzzle. Social Class gathers the most current research in one volume, and persuasively illustrates that class remains a powerful force in American society.
What would it take? That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents. Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time. This e-book includes a sample chapter of HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED.
The first comprehensive history of the Obama administration's evidence-based initiatives. From its earliest days, the Obama administration planned and enacted several initiatives to fund social programs based on rigorous evidence of success. Ron Haskins and Greg Margolis tell the story of six—spanning preschool and K-12 education, teen pregnancy, employment and training, health, and community-based programs. Readers will appreciate the fast-moving descriptions of the politics and policy debates that shaped these federal programs and the analysis of whether they will truly reshape federal social policy and greatly improve its impacts on the nation's social problems. Based on interviews with 134 individuals (including advocates, officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council, Congressional staff, and officials in the federal agencies administering the initiatives) as well as Congressional and administration documents and news accounts, the authors examine each of the six initiatives in separate chapters. The story of each initiative includes a review of the social problem the initiative addresses; the genesis and enactment of the legislation that authorized the initiative; and the development of the procedures used by the administration to set the evidence standard and evaluation requirements—including the requirements for grant applications and awarding of grants.
Microsociologists seek to capture social life as it is experienced, and in recent decades no one has championed the microsociological approach more fiercely than Randall Collins. The pieces in this exciting volume offer fresh and original insights into key aspects of Collins’ thought, and of microsociology more generally. The introductory essay by Elliot B. Weininger and Omar Lizardo provides a lucid overview of the key premises this perspective. Ethnographic papers by Randol Contreras, using data from New York, and Philippe Bourgois and Laurie Kain Hart, using data from Philadelphia, examine the social logic of violence in street-level narcotics markets. Both draw on heavily on Collins’ microsociological account of the features of social situations that tend to engender violence. In the second section of the book, a study by Paul DiMaggio, Clark Bernier, Charles Heckscher, and David Mimno tackles the question of whether electronically mediated interaction exhibits the ritualization which, according to Collins, is a common feature of face-to-face encounters. Their results suggest that, at least under certain circumstances, digitally mediated interaction may foster social solidarity in a manner similar to face-to-face interaction. A chapter by Simone Polillo picks up from Collins’ work in the sociology of knowledge, examining multiple ways in which social network structures can engender intellectual creativity. The third section of the book contains papers that critically but sympathetically assess key tenets of microsociology. Jonathan H. Turner argues that the radically microsociological perspective developed by Collins will better serve the social scientific project if it is embedded in a more comprehensive paradigm, one that acknowledges the macro- and meso-levels of social and cultural life. A chapter by David Gibson presents empirical analyses of decisions by state leaders concerning whether or not to use force to deal with internal or external foes, suggesting that Collins’ model of interaction ritual can only partially illuminate the dynamics of these highly consequential political moments. Work by Erika Summers-Effler and Justin Van Ness seeks to systematize and broaden the scope of Collins’ theory of interaction, by including in it encounters that depart from the ritual model in important ways. In a final, reflective chapter, Randall Collins himself highlights the promise and future of microsociology. Clearly written, these pieces offer cutting-edge thinking on some of the crucial theoretical and empirical issues in sociology today.
Urban ethnography is the firsthand study of city life by investigators who immerse themselves in the worlds of the people about whom they write. Since its inception in the early twentieth century, this great tradition has helped define how we think about cities and city dwellers. The past few decades have seen an extraordinary revival in the field, as scholars and the public at large grapple with the increasingly complex and pressing issues that affect the ever-changing American city-from poverty to the immigrant experience, the changing nature of social bonds to mass incarceration, hyper-segregation to gentrification. As both a method of research and a form of literature, urban ethnography has seen a notable and important resurgence. This renewed interest demands a clear and comprehensive understanding of the history and development of the field to which this volume contributes by presenting a selection of past and present contributions to American urban ethnographic writing. Beginning with an original introduction highlighting the origins, practices, and significance of the field, editors Mitchell Duneier, Philip Kasinitz, and Alexandra Murphy guide the reader through the major and fascinating topics on which it has focused -- from the community, public spaces, family, education, work, and recreation, to social policy, and the relationship between ethnographers and their subjects. An indispensable guide, The Urban Ethnography Reader provides an overview of how the discipline has grown and developed while offering students and scholars a selection of some of the finest social scientific writing on the life of the modern city.
Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and the Global examines the imposition of the modern Western notion of childhood, which is now deemed as universal, on other cultures and explores how local communities react to these impositions in various ways such as manipulation, outright rejection and acceptance. The book discusses childhoods in different regions of the world and boasts a range of contributors from several academic disciplines such as Sociology, Social Work, Education, Anthropology, Criminology and Human Rights, who are experts on the regions they discuss. The book argues against the notion of a universal childhood and illustrates that different societies around the world have different notions of childhood. This book is recommended reading for students, scholars and practitioners working with children in the Global South as well as internationally.
In 2005 the World Bank released a gender assessment of the nation of Jordan, a country that, like many in the Middle East, has undergone dramatic social and gender transformations, in part by encouraging equal access to education for men and women. The resulting demographic picture there—highly educated women who still largely stay at home as mothers and caregivers— prompted the World Bank to label Jordan a “gender paradox.” In Gendered Paradoxes, Fida J. Adely shows that assessment to be a fallacy, taking readers into the rarely seen halls of a Jordanian public school—the al-Khatwa High School for Girls—and revealing the dynamic lives of its students, for whom such trends are far from paradoxical. Through the lives of these students, Adely explores the critical issues young people in Jordan grapple with today: nationalism and national identity, faith and the requisites of pious living, appropriate and respectable gender roles, and progress. In the process she shows the important place of education in Jordan, one less tied to the economic ends of labor and employment that are so emphasized by the rest of the developed world. In showcasing alternative values and the highly capable young women who hold them, Adely raises fundamental questions about what constitutes development, progress, and empowerment—not just for Jordanians, but for the whole world.