Education, employment, and home ownership have long been considered stepping stones to the middle class. But in Abandoned Families, social policy expert Kristin Seefeldt shows how many working families have access only to a separate but unequal set of poor-quality jobs, low-performing schools, and declining housing markets which offer few chances for upward mobility. Through in-depth interviews over a six-year period with women in Detroit, Seefeldt charts the increasing social isolation of many low-income workers, particularly African Americans, and analyzes how economic and residential segregation keep them from achieving the American Dream of upward mobility.
Seefeldt explores the economic and political obstacles that have altered the pathways for opportunity. She finds that while many low-income individuals work, enroll in higher education, and attempt to use social safety net benefits in times of crisis, they primarily have access to subpar institutions, which often hamper their efforts to get ahead. Many of these workers hold unstable, low-paying service sector jobs that provide few paths for advancement and exacerbate their social isolation. Those who pursue higher education to gain qualifications for better paying jobs often enroll in for-profit schools and online programs that push them into debt but rarely lead to secure employment or even a degree. And while home ownership was once the best way to establish wealth, Seefeldt finds that in declining cities like Detroit, it can saddle low-income owners with underwater mortgages in depopulated neighborhoods. Finally, she shows that the 1996 federal welfare reform and other retrenchments in the social safety net have made it more difficult for struggling families to access public benefits that could alleviate their economic hardships. When benefits are difficult to access, families often take on debt as a way of managing. Taken together, these factors contribute to what Seefeldt calls the “social abandonment” of vulnerable families.
Abandoned Families is a timely, on-the-ground assessment of hardship in contemporary America. Seefeldt exposes the shortcomings of the institutions that once fostered upward mobility and shows how sweeping policy measures—including new labor protections, expansion of the social safety net, increased regulation of for-profit colleges, and reparations—could help lift up those who have fallen behind.
In recent years, different family types have begun demanding recognition to an unprecedented extent. Despite notable changes to our cultural and academic landscapes, however, adoptive families remain overlooked. According to census data, about two and a half percent of children in the United States are adopted. But mere numbers do not begin to indicate the profound impact that these families have on cultural definitions of kinship.
Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society brings together twenty-one prominent scholars to explore the experience, practice, and policy of adoption in North America. While much existing literature tends to stress the potential problems inherent in non-biological kinship, the essays in this volume consider adoptive family life in a broad and balanced context.
Essays explore our current fascination with genetics, showing how our intense belief that we are produced, shaped, and controlled by our genes has affected the authenticity and value that we credit to adoptive parent/child relations. Other essays look at identity development, community attitudes toward adoption, gay adoptive fathers’ experiences, the ways in which single mother adoptive families create kinship, and the ways in which cultural assumptions about race and class operate in the system.
Bringing new perspectives to the topics of kinship, identity, and belonging, this path-breaking book expands more than our understandings of adoptive family life; it urges us to rethink the limits and possibilities of diversity and assimilation in American society.
Niq Mhlongo Ohio University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PR9369.4.M48A38 2011 | Dewey Decimal 823.92
Bafana Kuzwayo is a young man with a weight on his shoulders. After flunking his law studies at the University of Cape Town, he returns home to Soweto, where he must decide how to break the news to his family. But before he can confess, he is greeted as a hero by family and friends. His uncle calls him “Advo,” short for Advocate, and his mother wastes no time recruiting him to solve their legal problems. In a community that thrives on imagined realities, Bafana decides that it’s easiest to create a lie that allows him to put off the truth indefinitely. Soon he’s in business with Yomi, a Nigerian friend who promises to help him solve all his problems by purchasing a fake graduation document. One lie leads to another as Bafana navigates through a world that readers will find both funny and grim.
In contemporary Norwegian fiction Tomas Espedal’s work stands out as uniquely personal; it can be difficult to separate the fiction from Espedal’s own experiences. In that vein, his novel Against Art is not just the story of a boy growing up to be a writer, but it is also the story of writing. Specifically, it is about the profession of writing—the routines, responsibility, and obstacles. Yet, Against Art is also about being a father, a son, and a grandson; about a family and a family’s tales, and about how preceding generations mark their successors. It is at once about choices and changes, about motion and rest, about moving to a new place, and about living.
Praise for the Norwegian Edition
“One of the most beautiful, most important books I've read for years.”—Klassekampen
“Espedal has written an amazingly rich novel, which will assuredly stand out as one of the year’s best and will also further fortify the quality of Norwegian literature abroad.”— Adresseavisen
“Against Art attacks literature while at the same time being intensely literary. Our greatest sorrows and torments, the individual experiences often so anemic in art, find a voice of their own.”—Morgenbladet
“Against Art moves me with its maternal history and proves yet again that Tomas Espedal writes great novels.”—Dag og Tid
Michael J. Rosenfeld offers a new theory of family dynamics to account for the interesting and startling changes in marriage and family composition in the United States in recent years. His argument revolves around the independent life stage that emerged around 1960. This stage is experienced by young adults after they leave their parents’ homes but before they settle down to start their own families. During this time, young men and women go away to college, travel abroad, begin careers, and enjoy social independence. This independent life stage has reduced parental control over the dating practices and mate selection of their children and has resulted in a sharp rise in interracial and same-sex unions—unions that were more easily averted by previous generations of parents.
Complementing analysis of newly available census data from the entire twentieth century with in-depth interviews that explore the histories of families and couples, Rosenfeld proposes a conceptual model to explain many social changes that may seem unrelated but that flow from the same underlying logic. He shows, for example, that the more a relationship is transgressive of conventional morality, the more likely it is for the individuals to live away from their family and area of origin.
All Coyote's Children
Bette Lynch Husted Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3608.U852 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Jack and Annie Fallon had been living what seemed the ideal life with their son Riley, spending the school year in Portland, where Jack was a professor of Native American history, and summers at Jack’s family ranch in northeastern Oregon, on land surrounded by the Umatilla Indian Reservation. But a good way of life can disappear almost overnight, as the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla peoples already know. Now the teenage Riley is in rehab, Jack has disappeared without a trace into the remote wilderness, and Annie is recovering from her own hospitalization following a mental health crisis.
Still fragile, a bereft Annie returns to the ranch, where she is befriended by Leona, a Umatilla-Cayuse neighbor. Leona, as it turns out, has a long connection to the family that even Jack never knew about. At the time of his disappearance, Jack had been grappling with his family’s legacy—with the conflicts and consequences of white settlement of native ground. Three generations before he was born, the family ranch was taken from the Umatilla reservation through the Allotment Act. Jack’s mother died when he was six, but his father’s stern presence still cast a shadow on the land.
“Survival is hard sometimes,” Leona says, but with her help, Annie is able to bring Riley home from rehab and begin the work of healing their small family, learning, season by season, how to go on living without Jack. Leona, Riley’s friends Alex and Mattie, and old neighbors Gus and Audrey become a larger family for Annie as they share the stories that connect them—long-silenced stories from both cultures that could solve the mystery of Jack’s disappearance.
In prose that is lyrical and clear-eyed, All Coyote’s Children weaves an unforgettable tale of cultures and families caught in the inescapable web of who they are and what they have inherited.
Western political philosophers since Plato have used the family as a model for harmonious political and social relations. Yet, far from being an uncontentious domain for shared interests and common values, the family is often the scene of intense interpersonal conflict and disagreement. In All in the Family, the political theorist Kennan Ferguson reconsiders the family, in its varied forms, as an exemplar of democratic politics and suggests how real rather than idealized family dynamics can help us to better understand and navigate political conflict.
By closely observing the attachments that arise in families despite profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we can imagine a political engagement that accommodates radical differences without sacrificing community. After examining how the concept of the family has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways in which families actually operate: the macropolitical significance of family coping strategies such as silence and the impact that disability and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He also considers the emotional attachment between humans and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and community can exist even under conditions of profound difference.
In a hard driving society like the United States, holidays are islands of softness. Holidays are times for creating memories and for celebrating cultural values, emotions, and social ties. All Together Now considers holidays that are celebrated by American families: Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Halloween, and the December holidays of Christmas or Chanukah. This book shows how entire families bond at holidays, in ways that allow both children and adults to be influential within their shared interaction.
The decorations, songs, special ways of dressing, and rituals carry deep significance that is viscerally felt by even young tots. Ritual has the capacity to condense a plethora of meaning into a unified metaphor such as a Christmas tree, a menorah, or the American flag. These symbols allow children and adults to co-opt the meaning of symbols in flexible and age-relevant ways, all while the symbols are still treasured and shared in common.
What happens when there is mourning with no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer’s patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss?
Changes in family and household composition are part of every individual's life course. Childhood families expand and contract; the individual leaves to set up an independent household; he or she may marry, raise children, lose a spouse. These transitions have a profound effect on the economic and social well-being of individuals, and the relative prevalence of different living arrangements affects the very character of society. American families and Households takes advantage of the large samples provided by the decennial censuses to document recent major transformations in the individual life cycle and consequent changes in the composition of the American population. As James Sweet and Larry Bumpass demonstrate, these changes have been dramatic—rates of marriage and childbirth are down, rates of marital disruption are up, and those who can are more likely to maintain independent households despite the rapid acceleration of change during recent years, however, the authors find that contemporary trends are continuous with long-term changes in Western society. This meticulous work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the American Family and the individual life experiences that are translated into the larger population experience. "Jim Sweet and Larry Bumpass provide detailed descriptions of three components of the households and families of Americans: family transitions; the prevalence of different family and household arrangements; and the economic and social circumstances of people living in different types of families and households....As a reference work, the volume is a gold mine, with many rich veins of useful information....Anyone interested in American families and how they have been changing will want to refer to this volume." —American Journal of Sociology A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
American families today are noted for their wide variety of guises. Among the mix are single-parent families, childless-by-choice marriages, nuclear families, multigenerational families, and same-sex couples. Although this diversity has come under the scrutiny of everyone from politicians to the media, family diversity is not a recent development of contemporary culture. While nuclear families with a mother, a father, and children are the presumed historical norm, people have always resided in an assortment of family formations.
Bringing together essays by twenty-one distinguished scholars who have helped shape the field of family sociology in the last decade, this interdisciplinary anthology examines variation within family experience, especially as it has evolved across racial, ethnic, social, gender, and generational lines. The essays place historical and institutional frameworks at the center of the discussion.
The first part of the book focuses on the development of socially constructed dominant ideologies, demographic shifts in family composition, and historical perspectives on family rituals and mythmaking. Essays in the second part provide a historical perspective on the interdependence between the family as a social institution and other institutions. Selections highlight changes in women’s roles, the impact of economic, racial, and social inequalities on household labor and child care, the effects of war and military service, and the implications of the political climate for family welfare policy.
In-depth chapter introductions along with critical questions to spark class discussion make this an ideal text for courses focusing on family composition, trends, and controversies in the United States.
The first in-depth look at this pioneering "reality TV" documentary.
Before 1973, the Loud family of Santa Barbara, California, lived in the privacy of their own home. With the airing of the documentary An American Family, that "privacy" extended to every American home that had a television in it-and there was no going back to the happy land of Beaver, Donna Reed, and Father Knows Best. This book is the first to offer a close, sustained look at An American Family-the documentary that blurred conventions, stirred passions among viewers and reviewers, revised impressions of family life and definitions of private and public, and began the breakdown of distinctions between reality and spectacle that culminated in cultural phenomena from The Oprah Winfrey Show to Survivor.
While placing Craig Gilbert's innovative series in the context of 1970s nonfiction film and television, Jeffrey Ruoff tells the story behind An American Family from conception to broadcast, from reception to long-term impact. He reintroduces us to the Louds as intimate details of their daily lives, from one child's dance recital to another's gay lifestyle to the parents' divorce proceedings, unfold first before the camera and then before American viewers, challenging audiences to think seriously about family, marital relations, sexuality, affluence, and the American dream. In the documentary's immediate impact-on both producers and viewers of media-Ruoff uncovers the roots of new nonfiction forms including confessional talk shows like Oprah, first-person documentary films like Ross McElwee's acclaimed Sherman's March, and reality TV programs such as The Real World, Survivor, and Big Brother.
A comprehensive production and reception study, Ruoff's work restores An American Family to its rightful, pioneering place in the history of American television.
Jeffrey Ruoff is a film historian, documentary filmmaker, and assistant professor of film and television studies at Dartmouth College. He is co-author (with Kenneth Ruoff) of The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1998).
American Kinship is the first attempt to deal systematically with kinship as a system of symbols and meanings, and not simply as a network of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the study of a highly differentiated society such as our own may be more revealing of the nature of kinship than the study of anthropologically more familiar, but less differentiated societies. He goes to the heart of the ideology of relations among relatives in America by locating the underlying features of the definition of kinship—nature vs. law, substance vs. code. One of the most significant features of American Kinship, then, is the explicit development of a theory of culture on which the analysis is based, a theory that has since proved valuable in the analysis of other cultures. For this Phoenix edition, Schneider has written a substantial new chapter, responding to his critics and recounting the charges in his thought since the book was first published in 1968.
America's Children offers a valuable overview of the dramatic transformations in American childhood over the past fifty years, a period of historic shifts that reduced the human and material resources available to our children. Alarmingly, one fifth of all U.S. children now grow up in poverty, many are without health insurance, and about 30 percent never graduate from high school. Despite such conditions, economic, family, and educational programs for children earn low national priority and must depend on inconsistent state and local management. Drawing upon both historical and recent data, including census information from 1940 to 1980, Donald J. Hernandez provides a vivid portrait of children in America and puts forth a forceful case for overhauling our national child welfare policies. Hernandez shows how important revolutions in household composition and income, parental education and employment, childcare, and levels of poverty have affected children's well-being. As working wives and single mothers increasingly replace the traditional homemaker, children spend greater portions of time in educational and daycare facilities outside the home, and those with single mothers stand the greatest chance of being welfare dependent. Wider changes in society have created even greater stress for children in certain groups as they age: out-of-wedlock births are on the rise for white teenagers, half of all Hispanic youths never graduate high school, and violence accounts for nearly 90 per cent of all black teenage deaths. America's Children explores the interaction of many trends in children's lives and the fundamental social, demographic, and economic processes that lie at their core. The book concludes with a thoughtful analysis of the ability of families and government to provide for a new age of children, with emphasis on reducing racial inequities and providing greater public support for families, comparable to the family policies of other developed countries. As the traditional "Ozzie and Harriet" family recedes into collective memory, the importance of creating strong national policies for children is amplified, particularly in the areas of financial assistance, health insurance, education, and daycare. America's Children provides a compelling guide for reassessing the forces that shape our children and the resources available to safeguard their future. "In this conceptually creative, methodologically rigorous, and empirically rich book, Hernandez uses census and survey data to describe several quite profound changes that have characterized the life courses of America's children and their families over the last 50 to 150 years....this erudite book is destined to be a classic." —Richard M. Lerner, Contemporary Psychology "America's Children goes a long way toward informing the debate on the causes of increasing poverty, and it challenges some widely held misperceptions....its study of resources available to children (and their families) lays a valuable foundation for surveying trends in family structure, education, and income sources....Anyone interested in the changing lives of children should read it; anyone interested in understanding the causes and patterns of poverty, and in designing a better welfare system, must read it." —Ellen B. Magenheim, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Winner of the Philippine National Book Award, this pioneering volume reveals how the power of the country’s family-based oligarchy both derives from and contributes to a weak Philippine state. From provincial warlords to modern managers, prominent Filipino leaders have fused family, politics, and business to compromise public institutions and amass private wealth—a historic pattern that persists to the present day.
Edited by Alfred W. McCoy, An Anarchy of Families explores the pervasive influence of the modern dynasties that have led the Philippines during the past century. Exemplified by the Osmeñas and Lopezes, elite Filipino families have formed a powerful oligarchy—controlling capital, dominating national politics, and often owning the media. Beyond Manila, strong men such as Ramon Durano, Ali Dimaporo, and Justiniano Montano have used “guns, goons, and gold” to accumulate wealth and power in far-flung islands and provinces. In a new preface for this revised edition, the editor shows how this pattern of oligarchic control has continued into the twenty-first century, despite dramatic socio-economic change that has supplanted the classic “three g’s” of Philippine politics with the contemporary “four c’s”—continuity, Chinese, criminality, and celebrity.
Steven E. Ozment Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HQ611.O968 2001 | Dewey Decimal 306.85094
Evgeniya Tur Northwestern University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PG3418.T75A8513 1996 | Dewey Decimal 891.733
Patterned on the novels of the Brontë sisters, Antonina is a poignant account of a young Russian whose life is shaped by the cruel neglect of her stepparents, the financial ruin of her father and husband, and--the centerpiece of the novel--her failed love affair with a sensitive but weak young man.
William Goyen Northwestern University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3513.O97A77 1994 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Completed while he was dying, William Goyen's Arcadio is one of the most affecting and imaginative farewells to life ever written. Arcadio is a half man, half woman raised in a whorehouse and for years the veteran exhibitionist in an itinerant circus sideshow. After he escapes he searches for his lost family, and during the journey tells the fantastic story of his life.
Expanding the insights of Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault’s Disorderly Families into policing, public order, (in)justice, and daily life
What might it mean for ordinary people to intervene in the circulation of power between police and the streets, sovereigns and their subjects? How did the police come to understand themselves as responsible for the circulation of people as much as things—and to separate law and justice from the maintenance of a newly emergent civil order? These are among the many questions addressed in the interpretive essays in Archives of Infamy.
Crisscrossing the Atlantic to bring together unpublished radio broadcasts, book reviews, and essays by historians, geographers, and political theorists, Archives of Infamy provides historical and archival contexts to the recent translation of Disorderly Families by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault. This volume includes new translations of key texts, including a radio address Foucault gave in 1983 that explains the writing process for Disorderly Families; two essays by Foucault not readily available in English; and a previously untranslated essay by Farge that describes how historians have appropriated Foucault.
Archives of Infamy pushes past old debates between philosophers and historians to offer a new perspective on the crystallization of ideas—of the family, gender relations, and political power—into social relationships and the regimes of power they engender.
Contributors: Roger Chartier, Collège de France; Stuart Elden, U of Warwick; Arlette Farge, Centre national de recherche scientifique; Michel Foucault (1926–1984); Jean-Philippe Guinle, Catholic Institute of Paris; Michel Heurteaux; Pierre Nora, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales; Michael Rey (1953–1993); Thomas Scott-Railton; Elizabeth Wingrove, U of Michigan.
Denounced by some as a dangerous cult and lauded by others as a miraculous faith community, the International Churches of Christ was a conservative evangelical Christian movement that grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Among its followers, promises to heal family relationships were central to the group's appeal. Members credit the church for helping them develop so-called "awesome families"-successful marriages and satisfying relationships with children, family of origin, and new church "brothers and sisters." The church engaged an elaborate array of services, including round-the-clock counseling, childcare, and Christian dating networks-all of which were said to lead to fulfilling relationships and exciting sex lives. Before the unified movement's demise in 2003-2004, the lure of blissful family-life led more than 100,000 individuals worldwide to be baptized into the church.
In Awesome Families, Kathleen Jenkins draws on four years of ethnographic research to explain how and why so many individuals-primarily from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds-were attracted to this religious group that was founded on principles of enforced community, explicit authoritative relationships, and therapeutic ideals. Weaving classical and contemporary social theory, she argues that members were commonly attracted to the structure and practice of family relationships advocated by the church, especially in the context of contemporary society where gender roles and family responsibilities are often ambiguous.
Tracing the rise and fall of this fast-growing religious movement, this timely study adds to our understanding of modern society and offers insight to the difficulties that revivalist movements have in sustaining growth.