Download American Individualisms: Child Rearing and Social Class in by A. Kusserow PDF

By A. Kusserow

What are difficult and smooth individualisms? during this special ethnography of 3 groups in big apple and Queens, Kusserow interviews mom and dad and lecturers (from filthy rich to these on welfare) at the sorts of not easy and tender individualisms they motivate of their young children and scholars. American Individualisms explores the $64000 factor of sophistication changes within the socialization of individualism in the United States. It provides American individualism no longer as one unmarried homogeneous, stereotypic life-pattern as usually claimed to be, yet as variable, class-differentiated versions of individualism instilled in children by way of their mom and dad and preschool lecturers in long island and Queens. through offering wealthy descriptions of the situational, class-based individualisms that take root in groups with significantly diversified visions of the longer term, Kusserow brings social inequality again into formerly bland and time-honored discussions of yank individualism.

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Despite her shy personality, during our interview she would switch suddenly into loud, harsh yells and she would scream at the kids to leave her alone while she was talking. Neither the child nor the parent flinched from these outbursts. Both resumed normal play or conversation, as if it were part of the natural ebb and flow of life in the house. She then went on to talk about her eldest, who was the ‘‘mushiest’’ because he got the most attention. When I asked her if too much attention leads to that, she talked about how ‘‘you shouldn’t pay too much attention to any emotion and you shouldn’t baby them too much, give them too much praise.

Taking up a similar theme, Bellah et al. (1985) state, ‘‘[I]ndividualism has come to mean so many things and to contain such contradictions and paradoxes that even to defend it requires that we analyze it critically . . ’’ (1985:142). It is a word ‘‘used in numerous, sometimes contradictory, senses’’ (Bellah, 1985:334). There are, Bellah says, ‘‘different modes [of individualism] even within the vocabularies of each individual’’ (1985:27). Bellah writes of two main types of individualism: expressive and utilitarian.

I was also only able to interview three Queenston fathers; this low number was often because the mothers felt the father wouldn’t be appropriate, the father was working two jobs, or there was no husband at the moment. Compared to the Kelley houses, some of the Queenston homes were quite dark, with shades drawn and doors locked. At times I felt invasive, as if this was as awkward for some of the mothers as it was for me. These were the same mothers who seemed to view the interview as a test they must do well on or a task they would do because their child’s preschool teacher had asked them to.

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