Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family

Paperback | November 17, 2015

byJune Carbone, Naomi Cahn

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There was a time when the phrase "American family" conjured up a single, specific image: a breadwinner dad, a homemaker mom, and their 2.5 kids living comfortable lives in a middle-class suburb. Today, that image has been shattered, due in part to skyrocketing divorce rates, single parenthood,and increased out-of-wedlock births. But whether it is conservatives bewailing the wages of moral decline and women's liberation, or progressives celebrating the result of women's greater freedom and changing sexual mores, most Americans fail to identify the root factor driving the changes: economicinequality that is remaking the American family along class lines.In Marriage Markets, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn examine how macroeconomic forces are transforming our most intimate and important spheres, and how working class and lower income families have paid the highest price. Just like health, education, and seemingly every other advantage in life, a stabletwo-parent home has become a luxury that only the well-off can afford. The best educated and most prosperous have the most stable families, while working class families have seen the greatest increase in relationship instability. Why is this so? The book provides the answer: greater economic inequality has profoundly changed marriage markets, the way men and women match up when they search for a life partner. It has produced a larger group of high-income men than women; written off the men at the bottom because of chronicunemployment, incarceration, and substance abuse; and left a larger group of women with a smaller group of comparable men in the middle. The failure to see marriage as a market affected by supply and demand has obscured any meaningful analysis of the way that societal changes influence culture. Onlypolicies that redress the balance between men and women through greater access to education, stable employment, and opportunities for social mobility can produce a culture that encourages commitment and investment in family life.A rigorous and enlightening account of why American families have changed so much in recent decades, Marriage Markets cuts through the ideological and moralistic rhetoric that drives our current debate. It offers critically needed solutions for a problem that will haunt America for generations tocome.

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From the Publisher

There was a time when the phrase "American family" conjured up a single, specific image: a breadwinner dad, a homemaker mom, and their 2.5 kids living comfortable lives in a middle-class suburb. Today, that image has been shattered, due in part to skyrocketing divorce rates, single parenthood,and increased out-of-wedlock births. But wh...

June Carbone is the inaugural holder of the Robina Chair of Law, Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of From Partners to Parents: The Second Revolution in Family Law, the third and fourth editions of Family Law with Leslie Harris and the late Lee Teitelbaum, and Red Families v. Blue Families with N...

other books by June Carbone

Red Families V. Blue Families : Legal Polarization And The Creation Of Culture
Red Families V. Blue Families : Legal Polarization And ...

Kobo ebook|Mar 8 2010

$30.29 online$39.30list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:November 17, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190263318

ISBN - 13:9780190263317

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Table of Contents

IntroductionSection I: The Puzzles of Today's Families1. Changing Families2. The New Foundations for Family Life: The Disappearance of the Center and the Emergence of Marriage As a Marker of Class3. Not Blaming the Victim: Derailed by Moynihan4. Blaming the Victim: The Morality Tale5. Getting Closer: The Rediscovery of Marriage MarketsSection II: The New Terms6. The Heart of the Matter7. Where the Men Are8. Remaking Class Barriers: Children and Achievement9. The Recreation of ClassSection III: Legalizing Inequality: The Class Divide in the Meaning of Family Law10. The Law: Rewriting the Marital Script11. Shared Parenting: Egalitarian, Patriarchal or Both?Section IV: Rebuilding Community: Inequality, Class, and Family12. Rebuilding From the Top Down: The Family, Inequality and Employment13. Rebuilding from the Bottom up: Addressing Children's Needs14. Sex, Power, Patriarchy and Parental Obligation15. The Rebirth of Community and the Family

Editorial Reviews

"Just like health, education, and seemingly every other advantage in life, a stable two-parent home has become a luxury that only the well-off can afford. The best educated and most prosperous have the most stable families, while working class families have seen the greatest increase inrelationship instability. Why is this so? The book provides the answer" --Elm Street Books