Publication Date

2018

Journal or Book Title

Gender & Society

Comments

GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol 32 No. 4, August, 2018 563–586 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243218771551 © 2018 by The Author(s)

Abstract

Drawing on 68 interviews with South Korean students at elite U.S. colleges, this article examines the intersectional power of gender and class in elite transnational parenting—a family strategy for class reproduction. Well-educated, stay-at-home mothers intensively managed their children’s school activities, often relying on gender-segregated networks, mostly during early school years. By contrast, cosmopolitan professional fathers heavily engaged in guiding their children’s education abroad and career preparation in later years, using their class resources (i.e., English proficiency, professional careers, and social networks of other elites). In high-achieving children’s narratives, mothers’ lifelong care for and management of their private life was undervalued and criticized, while fathers’ growing involvement in their higher education and career was highly valued and appreciated. The elite fathers’ occasional yet detailed involvement challenges the dichotomy that has long stereotyped Korean—or East Asian—mothers as overinvolved and fathers as distant in their children’s lives, especially with regard to education. Gender, through intensive parenting, reinforces and reproduces class disparity between elite couples and within their families.

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