Rutgers University Press

Families in Focus

Anita Ilta Garey, Naomi R. Gerstel, Karen V. Hansen, Rosanna Hertz, Margaret K. Nelson

Published by: Rutgers University Press

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Families in Focus

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Adult Supervision Required

Private Freedom and Public Constraints for Parents and Children

Markella B. Rutherford

Adult Supervision Required considers the contradictory ways in which contemporary American culture has imagined individual autonomy for parents and children. In many ways, today’s parents and children have more freedom than ever before. There is widespread respect for children’s autonomy as distinct individuals, and a broad range of parenting styles are flourishing. Yet it may also be fair to say that there is an unprecedented fear of children’s and parents’ freedom. Dread about Amber Alerts and “stranger danger” have put an end to the unsupervised outdoor play enjoyed by earlier generations of suburban kids. Similarly, fear of bad parenting has not only given rise to a cottage industry of advice books for anxious parents, but has also granted state agencies greater power to police the family.

Using popular parenting advice literature as a springboard for a broader sociological analysis of the American family, Markella B. Rutherford explores how our increasingly psychological conception of the family might be jeopardizing our appreciation for parents’ and children’s public lives and civil liberties.

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Amigas y Amantes

Sexually Nonconforming Latinas Negotiate Family

Katie L. Acosta

Amigas y Amantes  (Friends and Lovers) explores the experiences of sexually nonconforming Latinas in the creation and maintenance of families. It is based on forty-two in-depth ethnographic interviews with women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer (LBQ). Additionally, it draws from fourteen months of participant observation at LBQ Latina events that Katie L. Acosta conducted in 2007 and 2008 in a major northeast city. With this data, Acosta examines how LBQ Latinas manage loving relationships with the families who raised them, and with their partners, their children, and their friends.  

Acosta investigates how sexually nonconforming Latinas negotiate cultural expectations, combat compulsory heterosexuality, and reconcile tensions with their families. She offers a new way of thinking about the emotion work involved in everyday lives, which highlights the informal, sometimes invisible, labor required in preserving family ties. Acosta contends that the work LBQ Latinas take on to preserve connections with biological families, lovers, and children results in a unique way of doing family.

Paying particular attention to the negotiations that LBQ Latinas undertake in an effort to maintain familial order, Amigas y Amantes explores how they understand femininity, how they negotiate their religious faiths, how they face the unique challenges of being in interracial/interethnic relationships, and how they raise their children while integrating their families of origin.

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At the Heart of Work and Family

Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild

Edited by Anita Ilta Garey and Karen V. Hansen

At the Heart of Work and Family presents original research on work and family by scholars who engage and build on the conceptual framework developed by well-known sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild. The common thread in these essays covering the gender division of housework, childcare networks, families in the global economy, and children of consumers is the incorporation of emotion, feelings, and meaning into the study of working families. These examinations connect micro-level interaction to larger social and economic forces and illustrate the continued relevance of linking economic relations to emotional ones for understanding contemporary work-family life.

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Caring on the Clock

The Complexities and Contradictions of Paid Care Work

Mignon Duffy

A nurse inserts an I.V. A personal care attendant helps a quadriplegic bathe and get dressed. A nanny reads a bedtime story to soothe a child to sleep. Every day, workers like these provide critical support to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Caring on the Clock provides a wealth of insight into these workers, who take care of our most fundamental needs, often at risk to their own economic and physical well-being. 

Caring on the Clock is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research on a wide range of paid care occupations, and to place the various fields within a comprehensive and comparative framework across occupational boundaries. The book includes twenty-two original essays by leading researchers across a range of disciplines—including sociology, psychology, social work, and public health. They examine the history of the paid care sector in America, reveal why paid-care work can be both personally fulfilling but also make workers vulnerable to burnout, emotional fatigue, physical injuries, and wage exploitation. Finally, the editors outline many innovative ideas for reform, including top-down and grassroots efforts to improve recognition, remuneration, and mobility for care workers. 
As America faces a series of challenges to providing care for its citizens, including the many aging baby boomers, this volume offers a wealth of information and insight for policymakers, scholars, advocates, and the general public.

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Daughters and Granddaughters of Farmworkers

Emerging from the Long Shadow of Farm Labor

Barbara Wells

In Daughters and Granddaughters of Farmworkers, Barbara Wells examines the work and family lives of Mexican American women in a community near the U.S.-Mexican border in California’s Imperial County. Decades earlier, their Mexican parents and grandparents had made the momentous decision to migrate to the United States as farmworkers. This book explores how that decision has worked out for these second- and third-generation Mexican Americans.Wells provides stories of the struggles, triumphs, and everyday experiences of these women. She analyzes their narratives on a broad canvas that includes the social structures that create the barriers, constraints, and opportunities that have shaped their lives. The women have constructed far more settled lives than the immigrant generation that followed the crops, but many struggle to provide adequately for their families.These women aspire to achieve the middle-class lives of the American Dream. But upward mobility is an elusive goal. The realities of life in a rural, agricultural border community strictly limit social mobility for these descendants of immigrant farm laborers. Reliance on family networks is a vital strategy for meeting the economic challenges they encounter. Wells illustrates clearly the ways in which the “long shadow” of farm work continues to permeate the lives and prospects of these women and their families.

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Do Babies Matter?

Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower

Mary Ann Mason

The new generation of scholars differs in many ways from its predecessor of just a few decades ago. Academia once consisted largely of men in traditional single-earner families. Today, men and women fill the doctoral student ranks in nearly equal numbers and most will experience both the benefits and challenges of living in dual-income households. This generation also has new expectations and values, notably the desire for flexibility and balance between careers and other life goals. However, changes to the structure and culture of academia have not kept pace with young scholars’ desires for work-family balance.

Do Babies Matter?
is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between family formation and the academic careers of men and women. The book begins with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, moves on to early and mid-career years, and ends with retirement. Individual chapters examine graduate school, how recent PhD recipients get into the academic game, the tenure process, and life after tenure. The authors explore the family sacrifices women often have to make to get ahead in academia and consider how gender and family interact to affect promotion to full professor, salaries, and retirement. Concrete strategies are suggested for transforming the university into a family-friendly environment at every career stage.

The book draws on over a decade of research using unprecedented data resources, including the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a nationally representative panel survey of PhDs in America, and multiple surveys of faculty and graduate students at the ten-campus University of California system..

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Misconception

Social Class and Infertility in America

Ann V. Bell

Despite the fact that, statistically, women of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience greater difficulty conceiving children, infertility is generally understood to be a wealthy, white woman’s issue. In Misconception, Ann V. Bell overturns such historically ingrained notions of infertility by examining the experiences of poor women and women of color. These women, so the stereotype would have it, are simply too fertile. The fertility of affluent and of poor women is perceived differently, and these perceptions have political and social consequences, as social policies have entrenched these ideas throughout U.S. history. 

Through fifty-eight in-depth interviews with women of both high and low SES, Bell begins to break down the stereotypes of infertility and show how such depictions consequently shape women’s infertility experiences. Prior studies have relied solely on participants recruited from medical clinics—a sampling process that inherently skews the participant base toward wealthier white women with health insurance. 
In comparing class experiences, Misconception goes beyond examining medical experiences of infertility to expose the often overlooked economic and classist underpinnings of reproduction, family, motherhood, and health in contemporary America. 

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Paid to Party

Working Time and Emotion in Direct Home Sales

Jamie L. Mullaney and Janet Hinson Shope

On any given night in living rooms across America, women gather for a fun girls’ night out to eat, drink, and purchase the latest products—from Amway to Mary Kay cosmetics. Beneath the party atmosphere lies a billion-dollar industry, Direct Home Sales (DHS), which is currently changing how women navigate work and family.

Drawing from numerous interviews with consultants and observations at company-sponsored events, Paid to Party takes a closer look at how DHS promises to change the way we think and feel about the struggles of balancing work and family. Offering a new approach to a flexible work model, DHS companies tell women they can, in fact, have it all and not feel guilty. In DHS, work time is not measured by the hands of the clock, but by the emotional fulfillment and fun it brings.

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Queering Marriage

Challenging Family Formation in the United States

Katrina Kimport

Over four thousand gay and lesbian couples married in the city of San Francisco in 2004. The first large-scale occurrence of legal same-sex marriage, these unions galvanized a movement and reignited the debate about whether same-sex marriage, as some hope, challenges heterosexual privilege or, as others fear, preserves that privilege by assimilating queer couples.

In Queering Marriage, Katrina Kimport uses in-depth interviews with participants in the San Francisco weddings to argue that same-sex marriage cannot be understood as simply entrenching or contesting heterosexual privilege. Instead, she contends, these new legally sanctioned relationships can both reinforce as well as disrupt the association of marriage and heterosexuality.

During her deeply personal conversations with same-sex spouses, Kimport learned that the majority of respondents did characterize their marriages as an opportunity to contest heterosexual privilege. Yet, in a seeming contradiction, nearly as many also cited their desire for access to the normative benefits of matrimony, including social recognition and legal rights. Kimport’s research revealed that the pattern of ascribing meaning to marriage varied by parenthood status and, in turn, by gender. Lesbian parents were more likely to embrace normative meanings for their unions; those who are not parents were more likely to define their relationships as attempts to contest dominant understandings of marriage.

By posing the question—can queers “queer” marriage?—Kimport provides a nuanced, accessible, and theoretically grounded framework for understanding the powerful effect of heterosexual expectations on both sexual and social categories.

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Raising the Race

Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community

Riché J. Daniel Barnes

Popular discussions of professional women often dwell on the conflicts faced by the woman who attempts to “have it all,” raising children while climbing up the corporate ladder. Yet for all the articles and books written on this subject, there has been little work that focuses on the experience of African American professional women or asks how their perspectives on work-family balance might be unique.
 
Raising the Race is the first scholarly book to examine how black, married career women juggle their relationships with their extended and nuclear families, the expectations of the black community, and their desires to raise healthy, independent children. Drawing from extensive interviews with twenty-three Atlanta-based professional women who left or modified careers as attorneys, physicians, executives, and administrators, anthropologist Riché J. Daniel Barnes found that their decisions were deeply rooted in an awareness of black women’s historical struggles. Departing from the possessive individualistic discourse of “having it all,” the women profiled here think beyond their own situation—considering ways their decisions might help the entire black community.
 
Giving a voice to women whose perspectives have been underrepresented in debates about work-family balance, Barnes’s profiles enable us to perceive these women as fully fledged individuals, each with her own concerns and priorities. Yet Barnes is also able to locate many common themes from these black women’s experiences, and uses them to propose policy initiatives that would improve the work and family lives of all Americans.

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