As the economy fails to improve, as we chart the rise of the Tea Party and the Republican Party’s ability to express disdain for unemployment benefits without significant political cost, Americans lack a roadmap for the role of class and gender in the new American landscape. Joan Williams’ book, Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter (Harvard 2010), supplies that roadmap. The book creates an innovative framework for examining the relationship between law, work and family in the post-industrial economy.
|By: June Carbone Sunday November 7, 2010 1:59 pm|
|By: Jeremy Smith Sunday April 18, 2010 2:00 pm|
Now, the empirical evidence is mounting that, at the very least, there is a strong correlation between family type and political identity. In Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture, law professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone makes a very compelling, research-tested case for the idea that the kind of family you’re in is tightly linked to where you live, how much education you have, what you do for work, how much money you make–and how you vote come election time.
According to Cahn and Carbone, the “Red Family Paradigm” emphasizes “the unity of sex, marriage, and procreation” and is defined by early marriage and parenthood (not necessarily in that order, as shotgun marriages are more commons in red states), less education, and more hierarchical family relationships. The first chapters of the book are dedicated to showing how this way of family is rooted in states and areas that voted Republican in recent elections—and how the states that voted Democratic are defined by another, newer family model “geared for the post-industrial economy.” This “Blue Family Paradigm” is urban, educated, and egalitarian. Crucially, Cahn and Carbone find both men and women will tend to delay parenthood until they both feel a degree of emotional and financial independence, which in the twenty-first century has translated in more income and wealth as well as better outcomes for children.