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

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By A. Kusserow

What are not easy and smooth individualisms? during this distinctive ethnography of 3 groups in new york and Queens, Kusserow interviews mom and dad and academics (from filthy rich to these on welfare) at the sorts of difficult and tender individualisms they inspire 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 now not as one unmarried homogeneous, stereotypic life-pattern as usually claimed to be, yet as variable, class-differentiated types of individualism instilled in little ones through their mom and dad and preschool lecturers in big apple and Queens. through supplying 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 frequent discussions of yank individualism.

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Additional info for American Individualisms: Child Rearing and Social Class in Three Neighborhoods

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David Potter (1973:143), writing of American individualism in the twentieth century, noted that many theorists falsely assume that all of the different concepts we place under individualism—such as self-reliance and nonconformity—necessarily go together. He notes differences between an individualism of personal self-reliance, hardihood, and stamina vs. one of intellectual independence and personal self-expression and notes the fallacy of using one term, ‘‘individualism,’’ to express both these ideas.

1977:172) Hence, Willis focuses his narrative on the ‘‘lads’’’ own experiences of social reproduction and describes the ways in which they resist school rules, school authority, and poke fun at those (‘‘ear’oles’’) who obey them. The ‘‘lads’’ feel that trying to achieve is somewhat futile since they’re going to get crappy jobs anyway, with or without an education; they feel they might as well have fun. MacLeod (1987), in his ethnography of working-class males in the northeast city of Clarendon Heights, also talks back to overly simplistic social reproduction theorists (namely Bowles and Gintis, 1976, in Schooling in Capitalist America) who emphasize the role of educational tracking in the process of class reproduction by describing the ways in which two groups of boys (the black ‘‘Brothers’’ and the white ‘‘Hallway Hangers’’) from the same social class, living in the same housing project, and attending the same school ‘‘nevertheless experience the process of social reproduction in fundamentally different ways’’ (MacLeod, 1987:137).

Working-class Baltimore adults and children share their feelings and express emotion not by expressing them in a psychologized discourse of emotion words but rather by using actionoriented words such as ‘‘I kicked the table’’ (instead of ‘‘I was angry’’). The Homogenization of Individualism A related problem with the notion of a ‘‘Western’’ conception of self is the way in which individualism is treated as if it had the same meanings and uses for all groups. For example, Markus and Kitayama (1991) speak of the independent self of North America and much of Europe.

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