Please join us for a colloquium being given by Nina Bandelj, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.
The Financial Business of Parenting
These are trying times for parents, and the challenges of pandemic parenting are all the news. The dilemmas, exhaustion and guilt feelings attest to a strong moral imperative: parents’ sacred duty to do everything they possibly can to invest – time, emotions, and yes, also money – in their children. In this talk, I invite us to think critically about the contemporary social value of children, and its transformation over the past decades. I pay attention to the growing role of finance in society, which has influenced not only markets and corporations, but also the intimate sphere of child rearing, giving “birth” to what I call financially intensive parenting. Using analyses of over time data from the Survey of Consumer Finances and in-depth interviews with a hundred families, I also identify the parenting economy as an important driver of wealth and racial inequality in the United States.