Home Is Where The School Is

by Jennifer Lois

Home School picHome Is Where the School Is
 explores the emotional and temporal components of contemporary mothering.  Based on 10 years of field research with homeschooling mothers in the Pacific Northwest, the book begins by showing how homeschoolers drew on definitions of intensive mothering in deciding to keep their children out of conventional schools.  Extending the stay-at-home mothering commitment for 13 additional years was a decision these mothers understood in emotional terms, thus emotions were crucial in constructing their identities as good mothers.  Homeschoolers fell into two groups.  Staunch proponents, whom I call “first-choicers,” relied on “emotional epiphanies” to understand themselves as good mothers, whereas “second-choicers,” who were always looking for alternatives, relied on mainstream choice rhetoric to construct their good-mother identities.  Further, homeschooling mothers had to present themselves as good mothers to non-homeschoolers, who often accused them of maternal emotional deviance for keeping their children out of school.  These early chapters uncover the emotional conflict of intensive mothering, an angle yet to be explored from a sociology of emotions perspective. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Emotions, Family, Social Psychology

Gendered Lives of Drug Use in the Suburbs

by Miriam Boeri

Two women I met in the suburbs who used methamphetamine were a mother and daughter. The mother lived in a shack that belonged to her boyfriend. According to her story, the police evicted him from the house and told him never to come back because he beat her too often. Her daughter had just come out of jail, accused of selling meth. She denied it but with only an overworked public defender she would probably plead guilty. While in jail she also learned she had hepatitis C. She wanted to go to a support group but had no car to get there, and there was no public transportation in her suburban area. Continue reading

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April 18, 2014 · 2:33 pm

The New Kinship

by Naomi Cahn

Each year, thousands of children are born in the United States through the use of donor eggs or sperm, and experts estimate that there are already more than one million people born via these “donor gametes” worldwide. Twenty years ago, my reproductive endocrinologist suggested I explore donor eggs. Little could he have predicted that I would do so through my scholarship!

CousinTree Kinship.svg From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

CousinTree Kinship.svg
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

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Goldilocks vs. GoldieBlox

by Hilary Levey Friedman

Engineer turned social entrepreneur/toy maker Debbie Sterling thinks Goldilocks should have built herself a chair and bed that fit her just right. No matter if her creations ended up pink and covered in glitter—the important thing is that she build herself.Friedman_blogimage
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Filed under Adolescence/Children, Culture, Education

Normalizing Sexual Violence

by Heather R. Hlavka

A young man corners his classmate near the school bathroom, forcing his hands under her shirt. Boys grope girls on playgrounds and school buses; they say “I’m gonna rape you.” A 12-year-old girl describes feeling like a “doll” or a “maid” – something to be ordered around, used, and thrown away.Hlavka_blogimage

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Filed under Adolescence/Children, Education, Sexualities, Violence

Learning Femininity in College

by Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton

Weekend evenings on the dorm floor were loud and chaotic as women rushed around trading clothes and accessories, trying on and rejecting outfits in rapid succession. A focus on physical appearance was at the center of many interactions on the floor. Women discussed the attractiveness of celebrities, complimented each other on outfits, complained about minor physical imperfections, pored over fashion magazines, made plans to “do abs” together, and commiserated about the temptations of beer and pizza. Many of the fifty-three women living on the freshman residence hall floor we observed at large mid-tier public university spent more time on their physical appearance than on their schoolwork.Armstrong_blogimage

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They Always Call me an Investment: Gendered Familism and Latino/a College Pathways

by Sarah Ovink

Women’s ever-increasing share of the student body on U.S. college campuses (57%, on average) is by now common knowledge. Hand-wringing in the national media over this gender reversal has also become commonplace, and includes worries about women’s dwindling dating prospects and speculation that we might see the number of stay-at-home-dads skyrocket in the coming years as women choose careers over child-rearing and family life.Ovink_blogimage_April2014

As a sociologist of education, I read these stories with interest and some bemusement. While it is certainly true that women have come to outnumber men on college campuses, it is also true that men continue to out-earn women—even when comparing women and men with identical college majors, resumes, and career paths. Though women have undeniably made progress, is the college gender reversal also heralding a gender revolution in work and family life?

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