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Changing American home life: trends in domestic leisure and storage among middle-class families

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  • Jeanne Arnold

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  • Ursula Lang

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Abstract

This study of middle-class American families draws on ethnography and urban economic history, focusing on patterns of leisure time and household consumption and clutter. We trace how residential life evolved historically from cramped urban quarters into contemporary middle-class residences and examine how busy working families use house spaces. Our ethnographic sample consists of 24 Los Angeles families in which both parents work full time, have young children, and own their homes. Formal datasets include systematically timed family uses of home spaces, a large digital archive of photographs, and family-narrated video home tours. This analysis highlights a salient home-storage crisis, a marked shift in the uses of yards and garages, and the dissolution of outdoor leisure for busy working parents. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Jeanne Arnold & Ursula Lang, 2007. "Changing American home life: trends in domestic leisure and storage among middle-class families," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 23-48, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfamec:v:28:y:2007:i:1:p:23-48 DOI: 10.1007/s10834-006-9052-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kniesner, Thomas J & McElroy, Marjorie B & Wilcox, Steven P, 1988. "Getting into Poverty without a Husband, and Getting Out, With or Without," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 86-90, May.
    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Jane Waldfogel, 2000. "Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(4), pages 624-647, July.
    3. M. Robin Dion & Barbara Devaney & Alan M. Hershey, "undated". "Toward Interventions to Strengthen Relationships and Support Healthy Marriage Among Unwed New Parents," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 86c222b40d39418bb1a090913, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Ann Huff Stevens, 1999. "Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 557-588.
    5. Greg J. Duncan & Saul D. Hoffman, 1985. "Economic Consequences of Marital Instability," NBER Chapters,in: Horizontal Equity, Uncertainty, and Economic Well-Being, pages 427-470 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
    7. Saul Hoffman & Greg Duncan, 1988. "What are the economic consequences of divorce?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 641-645, November.
    8. Saul Hoffman, 1977. "Marital instability and the economic status of women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 14(1), pages 67-76, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Inmaculada García & José Molina & María Navarro, 2007. "How Satisfied are Spouses with their Leisure Time? Evidence from Europe," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 546-565, December.

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