Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life

Annette Lareau’s book, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, is based on painstakingly detailed ethnographic research on the comparison between child rearing in middle class families and that of working class and poor families. Lareau ‘s focus is on the different ways in which the classes raise/socialize their children or, put differently, how class impacts on child rearing. Lareau and her research team did intensive, lengthy observations of twelve families that were part of a larger study of eighty-eight children. All the children were nine or ten years old, lived in the city or suburb, and attended two middle schools: one a city school and the other a suburban school.

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Based on your reading of Unequal Childhoods, write an essay incorporating the following points:
a) Describe the book, Unequal Childhoods, including Lareau’s most significant research findings, and the concepts she uses to explain what she found. Use examples from the book.
b) relate Lareau’s book to the focus of this course which is inequality/oppression and the use of intersectionality to understand and analyze inequality. Explain/describe with examples the extent to which Lareau’s book brings into focus the issues of class, race, and gender in explaining the rearing of children in middle class versus working class and poor homes. What aspect does Lareau emphasize most? Least? To what extent does she directly or indirectly incorporate the idea of the matrix of domination? To what extent does she incorporate a social structural analysis vs. a purely individualist one?
c) on the last page, give your opinion of the book. Critique it (intelligently).

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