Dr. Melissa Swauger, Department of Sociology, has published articles on the social identities of girls in girl-centered programs, and on working-class mothers’ influence their daughters.
This is a case study illustrating a process by which academic theories about the social identities of girls are being incorporated into girl-centered programs in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The process began as a dissertation project in partnership with one organization, but turned into a “public sociology” project that impacts numerous girlcentric programs in the region.
The article has been selected for publication in Nyden, Hossfield, and Nyden’s Public Sociology: Research, Action, and Change (forthcoming, March 2011).
This article examines how working-class mothers influence their daughters’ work and family aspirations. Data were gathered from focus groups and interviews with twenty-one white and African American working-class girls and fifteen of their mothers from Southwestern Pennsylvania. Research revealed that mothers’ advice is gendered, class-based, and racialized, emphasizing the importance of caregiving, living near family, and financial independence and security. Qualitatively examining the work and family messages relayed by mothers to their daughters and how daughters take in these messages show numerous contradictions with which girls must contend.
This article has been accepted for publication in Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, Winter 2011 (forthcoming).
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