Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology
Richard D Sullivan
Maria H Schmeeckle
Parenting is entwined with political and social class realities, but rarely is this intersection explored. Seminal research in social reproduction theory finds that working-class parents pass on to their kids a “sense of constraint,” while middle-class parents successfully transmit class advantages that reproduce inequality (Lareau, 2011, p. 3). This research could be enriched by a political analysis that considers parents’ political ideology. On the other hand, research addressing ideological reproduction describes a model of progressive parenting that takes a stand against inequality, but it is not known how this model applies to working-class parents (Lakoff 2002). In this exploratory project, I ask: How might progressive working-class parents approach child rearing in a way that reflects their politics? The study uses qualitative, inductive methods to conduct and analyze seven semi-structured, in-depth interviews with progressive working-class parents. Findings lend empirical support to Lakoff’s Nurturant Parent Model while extending Lareau’s analysis of working-class parenting. Parents in this study cultivated autonomy, resistance, and political consciousness in their kids, helping them develop an emerging sense of empowerment despite economic constraints. Findings demonstrate that combining class and political analysis provides a more nuanced understanding of both working-class parenting and the parenting approaches of progressives.
West, Elise Danielle, "Class, Politics and Family Life: a Study of Progressive Working-Class Parenting" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 1713.