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Class and Mothering

  • By: Jenifer Hamil-Luker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

A class is a group of people who share a similar economic position in a society. Classes differ in their political and economic interests and the power they have or lack over the lives of others. To identify classes, social scientists use quantifiable measures of household income, educational attainment, occupational status, property ownership, and wealth. Class distinguishes homeowners from the homeless, Ph.D.s from high school dropouts, lawyers from laborers.

In combination with gender, race, and ethnicity, class affects almost every aspect of people's lives. It distinguishes how groups of people behave, what they look like, how they speak, and the general quality of their lives. Class impacts whether, when, and who people marry, how they relate to family members, and what they can do for their ...

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