The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family

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9780195371673: The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family
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In the controversial public debate over modern American families, the vast changes in family life--the rise of single, two-paycheck, and same-sex parents--have often been blamed for declining morality and unhappy children. Drawing upon pioneering research with the children of the gender revolution, Kathleen Gerson reveals that it is not a lack of "family values," but rigid social and economic forces that make it difficult to have a vibrant and committed family and work life.

Despite the entrance of women into the workforce and the blurring of once clearly defined gender boundaries, men and women live in a world where the demands of balancing parenting and work, autonomy and commitment, time and money are left largely unresolved. Gerson finds that while an overwhelming majority of young men and women see an egalitarian balance within committed relationships as the ideal, today's social and economic realities remain based on conventional--and now obsolete--distinctions between breadwinning and caretaking. In this equity vacuum, men and women develop conflicting strategies, with women stressing self-reliance and men seeking a new traditionalism.

With compassion for all perspectives, Gerson argues that whether one decides to give in to traditionally imbalanced relationships or to avoid marriage altogether, these approaches are second-best responses, not personal preferences or inherent attributes, and they will shift if new options can be created to help people achieve their egalitarian aspirations. The Unfinished Revolution offers clear recommendations for the kinds of workplace and community changes that would best bring about a more egalitarian family life--a new flexibility at work and at home that benefits families, encourages a thriving economy, and helps women and men integrate love and work.

Praise for the Hardcover:

"Over the past three decades, social change has blown apart the old-fashioned ideal of the nuclear family--and Gerson has set out to map where the pieces have landed."
--New York Post

"Valuable for the abundance and candor of the testimony from this unmoored generation pioneering through radically altered conceptions of personal and professional life."
--Publishers Weekly

"This is not a battle that can be won with legal challenges or legislation. Yes, it would undoubtedly be greatly aided by the passage of major social policies such as universal child care. But at its core, this is a fight that plays out within homes and between partners. And as Gerson's research makes clear, the fight has not changed all that dramatically in the past 30 years." --The American Prospect

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About the Author:


Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University. The author of No Man's Land: Men's Changing Commitments to Family and Work and Hard Choices: How Women Decide about Work, Career, and Motherhood, she frequently contributes to such media as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and CNN.

Review:


"Preachers, pundits, and politicians blather endlessly about family values, traditional marriage, and child-rearing, but no one with real authority has asked the kids themselves what works best-until now. The brilliant social scientist Kathleen Gerson revolutionizes a stale debate with her breakthrough research on how adult children view their upbringing and what that means for their futures-and ours. Gerson provides definitive evidence that families with flexible gender strategies meet social and economic challenges far better than those with rigid gender roles, who are often unable to sustain secure homes when confronted by financial or marital crises." --Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake


"Gerson's Unfinished Revolution is the most important book on issues of work and family balance since Hochschild's Second Shift. Vividly portraying how family change has impacted the hopes, dreams, and possibilities for future generations, this book effectively transforms the terms of the debate on the American family today." --Sharon Hays, Barbra Streisand Professor in Contemporary Gender Studies and Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California


"Kathleen Gerson's Unfinished Revolution is an elegant and powerful account of the gender and family revolution that has transformed our society and politics, viewed through the young adults who have lived through these transforming decades. While politics seeks to freeze and distort and polarize the change, Gerson shows a textured, flexible, uncertain and shifting reality that challenges all our assumptions. Her book helps us understand this Obama generation, tolerant of the diverse choices now facing men and women and families and hoping politics can transcend old formulas and lines." --Stanley Greenberg, author of The Two Americas


"A compassionate, insightful study of how young men and women struggle to reconcile their desires for partnered commitment and personal autonomy w

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9780199783328: The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family

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ISBN 10:  0199783322 ISBN 13:  9780199783328
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2011
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