Unequal Childhoods : Class, Race, and Family Life, Paperback

Unequal Childhoods : Class, Race, and Family Life Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480 pages, 1 b/w photograph, 5 tables
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social discrimination
  • ISBN: 9780520271425



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Unequal Childhoods changed my views on child development and the impact of race and class more than any other book I have read. Truthfully, I read this book several years ago but wanted to make sure that I had the opportunity to review it and sing its praises. While I have always been aware that gender, race, class and other social and economic factors create different conditions in childhood depending on these factors Unequal Childhoods gave me a solid framework and theoretical perspective that clarified and supported me as a teacher and a child and family therapist. It has made my work with families stronger and more respectful and feels absolutely true to the struggles I see. Being able to see the strengths and challenges of different parenting styles has also allowed me to broaden my approach. Truly brilliant.Thank you to Edelweiss for allowing me to review this book.

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