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Educação em Revista

Print version ISSN 0102-4698On-line version ISSN 1982-6621


LAREAU, Annette. Invisible inequality: the role of social class in raising children from black and white families. Educ. rev. [online]. 2007, n.46, pp.13-82. ISSN 0102-4698.

Although family life has an important impact on children's chances in life, the mechanisms through which parents transmit advantages are imperfectly understood. An ethnographic data set of white and black children around 10 years old shows the effects of social class on interactions at home. Middle-class parents engage in concerted cultivation by attempting to foster children's talents through organized leisure activities and extensive reasoning. Working-class and poor parents engage in the accomplishment of natural growth, providing the conditions under which children can grow, but leaving leisure activities to children themselves. These parents also use commands rather than reasoning. Middle-class children, both white and black, gain an emerging sense of entitlement from their family life. Race had much less impact than social class. Also, differences in a cultural logic of raising children gave parents and their children differential resources to draw on in their interactions with professionals from dominant classes and other adults outside home. Middle-class children gained individually insignificant but cumulatively important advantages. Working-class and poor children did not display the same sense of entitlement or advantages. Some areas of family life appeared immune from the effects of social class, however.

Keywords : social class; family; child rearing; cultural capital; race.

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