14 SES 10 B, Concerted Cultivation in a Cross -Cultural Perspective (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 14 SES 09 B
The importance of intersecting hierarchies of social class, gender and ethnicity has often been neglected in the Finnish public debate on what we call “raising decent citizens”: parenting practices and their moral aspects. Our starting point in this presentation is to see parenting as a morally loaded, embodied set of practices that is shaped and conditioned by these hierarchies. The idea of concerted cultivation (Lareau 2003) nowadays shapes the parenting norms of all parents regardless of background. Yet the differences of class, and ethnicity/”race” as we will show, still shape strongly the ways parents have access to the vocabulary, practices and bodily habits it entails. We will concentrate on the ways parents representing both ethnic majority and minority backgrounds in Finland speak about the leisure time of their children, claiming that organized leisure is considered as a central tool for accumulating the resources the children need in order to become “decent citizens” in their adulthood. Due to emphasized societal concern on healthy lifestyle and fit body, sports in particular appear as the sort of leisure that parents encourage their children in. The discourses on children’s leisure time are utilized in constructing the self-image of “a decent parent” – a process that relies not only defining what good parenthood is, but also defining who are the Other parents (“single mothers”, “immigrant families” and “lower-class families”) who allegedly fail to meet these standards. It is our claim that while parents across class and ethnic boundaries largely share the ideals of parenthood, their identity work as parents many times involves constructing and consolidating the classed and ethnicized/racialized boundaries. The assumed moral “decency” of both children and parents is being read from the bodies and bodily habits; it thus has a strong embodied dimension. At the same time, living in different classed and racialized categories has influence on how both the parents and the young people are able to develop “a sense of entitlement”, which, in turn, may have consequences on their ability to access the practices and activities deemed necessary. Theoretically, our presentation draws from Skeggsian class analysis and intersectional literature. Empirically, we utilize interviews of 47 parents, who represent both majority and minority ethnicities in Finland.
Will be submitted later.
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