Cover: Through My Own Eyes: Single Mothers and the Cultures of Poverty, from Harvard University PressCover: Through My Own Eyes in PAPERBACK

Through My Own Eyes

Single Mothers and the Cultures of Poverty

Product Details


$38.00 • £33.95 • €34.95

ISBN 9780674001800

Publication Date: 12/21/2001


256 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

3 tables


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Through My Own Eyes is a thoughtful book that adds to our knowledge about poverty in America. By utilizing women’s voices throughout, the volume offers a rich texture of ideas that is both compelling and creative. The book is a useful addition to the field of education, social welfare, and social policy and adds special meaning to one of the most challenging issues of our time.—Jill Duerr Berrik, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

Over a three-year period, [the authors] interviewed 14 poor, single-parent women of Anglo, Latina, African American background in the Boston area to learn about their attitudes and beliefs toward parenting, employment, and welfare. This in-depth study reveals similarities and variations in these womens’ approaches to (mostly) common goals of attaining self-reliance, education, and respect for themselves and their children. The authors strongly suggest that policymakers, educators, professionals, and community members (to all of whom this book is addressed) understand the underlying ambitions and key influences of these families’ differing cultural milieus, resource availability, and attitudes when planning what should be a mix of programs to help them escape the poverty that precludes their independence and hurts our society as a whole. Recommended.—Suzanne W. Wood, Library Journal

Revealing, penetrating and sobering, Through My Own Eyes paints a poignant portrait of real women’s real lives. At one level, this sensitively written book packs lessons about struggle and survival. At another level, it is a profound treatise about culture, class, misdirected practice, and misconstrued policy. All who read it will face themselves and their attitudes about poverty with new understanding. A triumph!—Sharon L. Kagan, President, The National Association for the Education of Young Children

By allowing us to glimpse the strengths, aspirations, and struggles of fourteen single mothers in poverty, the authors force us to confront preconceptions about women in poverty and the needs of their children. To offer assistance in ignorance often erodes the very lives we hope to benefit; the insights in this volume teach essential lessons in program design.—Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology, Yale University

The authors are particularly adept at confronting the dominant mythologies through which we are urged to view poor mothers, challenging us instead to see these individuals less as irresponsible, misguided, voiceless strangers and more as resilient, resourceful hardworking women, doing the best they can with what they’ve got—much like the rest of us.—Janie V. Ward, Simmons College

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