Black and Latino families are in fact highly family-oriented and want to be involved in exchange networks but, because they are economically disenfranchised, they are prevented from participation. The vitriolic debate on welfare reform currently sweeping the nation assumes that if institutional mechanisms of social support are eliminated, impoverished families will simply rely on an extensive web of kinship networks for their survival. The political discourse surrounding poverty and welfare reform has an increasingly racial undertone. Implementation of social policy that presupposes the availability of family safety nets in minority communities could have disastrous consequences for many without extended kin networks. Many scholars and political analysts assume that thriving kin and non-kin social support networks continue to characterize minority family life. Policy recommendations based on these underlying assumptions may lead to the implementation of harmful social policy. No More Kin examines extended kinship networks among African American, Chicano, Puerto-Rican, and non-Hispanic white families in contemporary America and seeks to provide an integrated theoretical framework for examining how the simultaneity of gender, race, and class oppression affects minority family organization. Breaking new ground in a variety of fields, No More Kin is sure to become a valuable resource for students and professionals in family studies, gender studies, and race/ethnic studies.

The Cultural Context of Care

The cultural context of care

The following chapter is an explanation of the cultural approach to the study of minority families. In the ensuing discussion, I will first examine the culture of poverty or pathological approach, followed by the cultural relativity or strength resiliency approach. After explaining each theoretical perspective, I will present the empirical literature that has been guided by these two perspectives. Both approaches attempt to explain the existence of extended living arrangements and informal social support among minority families, and each is predicated upon a particular ideological viewpoint. Although many sociologists contend that theoretical frameworks based on ideological considerations are not “scientific,” I would argue that most theories contain a priori assumptions about social reality and are rarely ...

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