Mariya Stoilova, Sonia Livingstone, and Giovanna Mascheroni
Mobile devices play a growing role in the everyday lives of children around the world, prompting important questions about their effects on childhood experiences. Exploring the recent global trends in children’s use of smartphone devices, the authors examine the reconfiguring of children’s communicative practices and cultures of connectivity, documenting the opportunities and risks that smartphone technology affords. Throughout the chapter the authors challenge the notion of “digital childhoods,” drawing on the most reliable research on children and smartphones including findings from Global Kids Online, which suggest that digital divides intersect with existing social inequalities, exacerbating the barriers for less privileged children. This raises further questions about the long-term consequences for children’s development, rights, and future access to opportunities and resources.
Evolutionary family sociology studies how genetic relatedness and psychological predispositions shape intimate relations. It approaches human families in comparison to other species and the history of hominid evolution. This chapter outlines the main assumptions and recent advances in evolutionary family sociology. The study of parenting and mating is of interest to both sociologists and evolutionists. Our understanding of couple relations, gender equality, and involved fatherhood, deepens as sexual selection theory is combined with family system theories. Grandparenting is another research field for which an integration between Darwinian theory and mainstream family sociology is underway. Questions of helping, conflicts, and kin lineages are central for such studies on cross-generational relations. The Darwinian perspective has focused attention on the effects of genetic relatedness on familial sentiment and behavior and also on the universal patterns characterizing family dynamics. Sociological insights have helped specify cases in which evolutionary predictions need elaboration in order to better capture the variety and complexity of human families.
Adreanne Ormond, Joanna Kidman, and Huia Tomlins-Jahnke
Personhood is complex and characterized by what Avery Gordon describes as an abundant contradictory subjectivity, apportioned by power, race, class, and gender and suspended in temporal and spatial dimensions of the forgotten past, fragmented present, and possible and impossible imagination of the future. Drawing on Gordon’s interpretation, we explore how personhood for young Māori from the nation of Rongomaiwāhine of Aotearoa New Zealand is shaped by a subjectivity informed by a Māori ontological relationality. This discussion is based on research conducted in the Māori community by Māori researchers. They used cultural ontology to engage with the sociohistorical realities of Māori cultural providence and poverty, and colonial oppression and Indigenous resilience. From these complex and multiple realities this essay will explore how young Māori render meaning from their ancestral landscape, community, and the wider world in ways that shape their particular personhood.
Liana Fox, Florencia Torche, and Jane Waldfogel
This article reviews current research on intergenerational mobility, which indicates opportunity for children to move beyond their social origins and obtain a status not dictated by that of their parents. Mobility tends to be measured by the extent of association between parents’ and adult children’s socioeconomic status (measured by social class, occupation, earnings, or family income). Stronger associations mean more intergenerational transmission of advantage (often referred to as persistence) and less mobility, whereas weaker associations indicate less persistence and more mobility. The article begins with a discussion of theoretical and methodological approaches to measuring intergenerational mobility. Drawing on research in economics and sociology, it then examines the evidence on the degree of mobility and persistence as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Finally, it compares mobility in wealthy and developing countries and suggests directions for future research.
Christina M. Gibson-Davis
This article examines the interrelationships among poverty rates, inequality, and nonmarital family structures, focusing on households with a never-married parent, usually the mother, or with cohabiting parents. It first considers marriage and fertility patterns around the world and how these patterns exhibit characteristics of the so-called second demographic transition in which marriage and fertility have become increasingly disconnected. It then discusses the reasons why nonmarital families tend to be poorer than marital families and also why the correlation between poverty and nonmarital family structures does not causally explain between- or within-country variation in poverty rates. It also describes some methods for addressing high poverty rates among nonmarital household structures, arguing that policies other than marriage promotion would be far more effective at reducing poverty for nonmarital households. The article concludes with an assessment of some implications of nonmarital fertility for economic inequality.
Titas De Sarkar
This essay explores how youth identities are constructed in a postcolonial space through life writing. In so doing it challenges conventional understanding of autobiography or testimonio. Using the life writing of Malay Roychoudhury–the founder of the 1960s radical literary Hungry movement–the essay shows how the categories autobiography and testimonio are insufficient to describe life writing of the Global South. The characters portrayed, the treatment of the narrative, and the multiple footings taken to project the author as a subaltern and marginal figure and yet possessing abundant cultural capital, hybridizes the genre of life writing itself whereby newer tools become necessary. This essay thus presents critical youth culture studies, theories of life writing, and subaltern studies, as they relate to postcolonialism, in order to highlight the necessity for seeing the youth of the Global South in ways that cannot be captured by analytical tools that are insufficiently provincialized.