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

By A. Kusserow

What are not easy and tender individualisms? during this precise ethnography of 3 groups in long island and Queens, Kusserow interviews mom and dad and academics (from filthy rich to these on welfare) at the sorts of difficult and smooth individualisms they motivate of their young ones and scholars. American Individualisms explores the $64000 factor of sophistication variations within the socialization of individualism in the United States. It offers American individualism no longer as one unmarried homogeneous, stereotypic life-pattern as usually claimed to be, yet as variable, class-differentiated types of individualism instilled in teenagers through their mom and dad and preschool lecturers in new york and Queens. by means of delivering wealthy descriptions of the situational, class-based individualisms that take root in groups with drastically assorted visions of the longer term, Kusserow brings social inequality again into formerly bland and commonly used discussions of yank individualism.

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Socialization of toughness also occurred through open encouragement and praise of independent acts done without help from anyone. ’’ Queenston and Kelley parents often used the word ‘‘tough’’ as a positive quality in their child insofar as it showed the child’s ability to resist outside influences that might be harmful. It was the ultimate survival skill. ‘‘Tough’’ was often part of a constellation of other words and phrases stating the child ‘‘isn’t a pushover,’’ ‘‘speaks her own mind,’’ or is ‘‘her own person,’’ which portrayed a solidity to the self that the parent was quite proud of.

Not all Queenston parents were like this, however. Some of the parents seemed totally unself-conscious, relaxed, and quite open about their lives. This immediately put me at ease as well, and in general the conversation flowed much more freely. One father, a prison guard at a local prison, was incredibly proud of his success in life and couldn’t have been happier to show me his house and family pictures and talk about his past. Another woman, recovering from drug and alcohol abuse and struggling financially to support her three kids, was also quite open about her struggles in life, her recent divorce, and life on welfare.

For example, Markus and Kitayama (1991) speak of the independent self of North America and much of Europe. The different aspects of individualism that are given at various times throughout the article include everything from self-reliance, a preference for being alone, boasting, self-advertisement, an inner sense of owning opinions, assertiveness, and, finally, the idea that the self should be consistent across cultures. The question of how and why some groups might espouse different strands and types of individualism is not explored.

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