Cover image for Cut adrift : families in insecure times
Title:
Cut adrift : families in insecure times
Author:
Cooper, Marianne, 1973-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2014]
Physical Description:
xv, 296 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"Cut Adrift makes an important and original contribution to the national conversation about inequality and risk in American society. Set against the backdrop of rising economic insecurity and rolled up safety nets, Marianne Cooper explores what keeps Americans up at night. Through poignant case studies, she reveals what families are concerned about, how they manage their anxiety, whose job it is to worry, and how social class shapes all of these dynamics, including what is even worth worrying about in the first place. This powerful study is packed with intriguing discoveries ranging from the surprising anxieties of the rich, to the critical role of women in keeping struggling families afloat. Through tales of stalwart stoicism, heart-wrenching worry, marital angst, and religious conviction, Cut Adrift deepens our understanding about how families are coping in a go-it-alone age - and how the different strategies affluent, middle-class, and poor families rely upon not only reflect inequality, but also fuel it"--
Language:
English
Contents:
Introduction: One nation under worry -- From shared prosperity to the age of insecurity: How we got here -- Forging security in an insecure age: The study -- Downscaling for survival: Laura Delgado -- The upscaling of security at the top: Brooke and Paul Mah -- Holding on at the middle: Gina and Sam Calafato -- When religion fills the gap: Laeta and Kapo Faleau -- Debt and hope: Eddie and Chelsea Jenner -- Conclusion: The social cost.
ISBN:
9780520277656

9780520277670
Format :
Book

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Material Type
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Status
Central Library HM821 .C676 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Frank E. Merriweather Library HM821 .C676 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

Cut Adrift makes an important and original contribution to the national conversation about inequality and risk in American society. Set against the backdrop of rising economic insecurity and rolled-up safety nets, Marianne Cooper's probing analysis explores what keeps Americans up at night. Through poignant case studies, she reveals what families are concerned about, how they manage their anxiety, whose job it is to worry, and how social class shapes all of these dynamics, including what is even worth worrying about in the first place. This powerful study is packed with intriguing discoveries ranging from the surprising anxieties of the rich to the critical role of women in keeping struggling families afloat. Through tales of stalwart stoicism, heart-wrenching worry, marital angst, and religious conviction, Cut Adrift deepens our understanding of how families are coping in a go-it-alone age--and how the different strategies on which affluent, middle-class, and poor families rely upon not only reflect inequality, but fuel it.



Author Notes

Marianne Cooper is a sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and an affiliate at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. She was the lead researcher for Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg and is a contributor to LeanIn.org. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

American citizens have indeed been cut adrift by the U.S. government in the last several years, forced to provide more of their own hard-earned cash for health care, retirement, and education. But as sociologist Cooper skillfully shows, they are at least not alone. Here exploring what she sees as the highly emotional coping method of doing security in these uncertain times, she identifies four methods generally employed by the various economic classes downscaling, upscaling, holding on, and turning to God. She then interviews (and later follows up with) families who represent those classes to see how they deal with their finances or lack thereof and the accompanying stress as well as what has changed and how. Cooper's interviewees are fascinating, heartbreakingly optimistic in their poverty or head-shakingly preoccupied with their wealth (which is never enough). All wage-earning readers will find themselves represented here, some in luckier positions than others, perhaps, with hopes and dreams being chased or disappearing. A well-told, personal representation of what's happened to real people in times of income stagnation, growing inequality, increasing economic instability, soaring debt, and rising costs. --Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

With this well-researched book, Cooper, a sociologist at Stanford University's Clayman Institute, leads a grand return to a publicly committed sociology that is accessible, elucidating, and grounded in real stories. The book charts how individual American families at all income levels have dealt with the anxiety induced by the recent recession. Though each story is sensitively told and rich with personal details, the research focuses on the author's core finding-the variation of "security strategies" among families. Though conventional wisdom dictates that wealthier families feel more secure, Cooper finds the opposite is true: they experience a mixture of status anxiety and the sense that everything they have isn't enough. Parents fret about having enough money to send their children to elite schools, even if they have more than enough to pay for state universities. For the poorer and middle-tier families-contrary to popular stereotypes of the grasping, entitled modern American-many are figuring out how to survive with less, and even valorizing that. Cooper offers a robust analysis of gender dynamics, with sharp insights about the heavy burden on women to manage the family's anxiety. Cooper's necessary and timely study is a discomfiting reminder of the human cost of the recession. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Choice Review

In an absorbing, impeccably researched book, Cooper (sociology, Stanford) analyzes the effect of large-scale economic and social transformations on families in the US. She chronicles the shift from "shared prosperity" to "the age of insecurity" and explains how New Deal policies that supported families began to face challenges during the economic downturn of the 1970s. As a result, many families were cut adrift and left to struggle without an adequate safety net (as the title so aptly captures). Cooper's groundbreaking work finds that families are "doing security" through strategies that involve a significant amount of emotion work, and these strategies vary by social class. Studying 50 families over two years (with follow-up interviews several years later), Cooper identified four distinct security projects: "downscaling" for low- and middle-income families (i.e., handling economic struggles by adjusting downward the requirements to feel secure while remaining optimistic), "upscaling" for upper-income families (i.e., worrying constantly about amassing wealth while preparing children to be globally competitive), "holding on" for low- and middle-income families (a highly gendered strategy in which families tried to stay afloat despite challenging economic situations), and "turning to God" for low-income families. A highly readable, must-have book for any library. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --Cara Bergstrom-Lynch, Eastern Connecticut State University


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