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The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents,and the Private Toll of Global Competition

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Why are adults in their twenties and thirties boomeranging back to or never leaving their parents' homes in the world's wealthiest countries? Acclaimed sociologist Katherine Newman addresses this phenomenon in this timely and original book that uncovers fascinating links between globalization and the failure-to-launch trend. With over 300 interviews conducted in six countr ...more
Published January 17th 2012 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Sep 02, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The is a cross country disccussion and analysis of how globalization has lead to the increase in "boomerang kids" and "accordian families" wherein adult children live with their parents and delay marriage and starting their own families. The most interesting part is how the countries culture frame this phenomenon. In Japan it is met with recrimination and the assumption of poor parenting; in Spain it is clearly the economy and government failing families and the youth, and in the U.S. it is acce ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Losososdiane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read about comparisons of the diverse ways nations and cultures deal with globalization and the devastating effect it has on the youth of the developed world. The differences between what the author labels the weak welfare states of Japan, Italy and Spain, and the social democracies of Scandinavia were startling to me. The author details the positives and negatives of the different approaches of the nations and the thinking of the citizens.

Comprehensive governmental (and thus tax
Gerald Kinro
The author explores the phenomenon of adults in their twenties and thirties still living in their parents’ homes in the world’s wealthiest countries.

She looks at globalization and how it has changed the economic and cultural landscapes worldwide. It has raised the cost of living and created high unemployment rates that have served as barriers to adulthood and independence. As a result, families are opening up their homes to young adults, many of whom will be tapping into parents’ nest eggs with
Gayle Pitman
The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition addresses the phenomenon in Westernized, wealthy, industrialized countries of adult children in their twenties and thirties living with their parents for extended periods of time, breaking with the expectation of independence and financial self-sufficiency. Newman provides narrative data that supports her theory that globalization is a key factor that contributes to this phenomenon, and expands on t ...more
Vicki Cline
Mar 21, 2012 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-nonfiction
This book talks about a relatively new phenomenon, adult children moving back into the parents' home. Sometimes this is done after college while the graduate is looking for a job, and sometimes after a divorce or foreclosure. High unemployment around the world is causing most of this, and it's apparently especially bad in Italy and Spain. The author also has studied Japan, where it's an embarrassment to the parents, and the Scandinavian countries, where it's rare because of generous government s ...more
Margaret Sankey
In a sociological study of families in the US, Italy and Japan, Newman tracks the effect of parents caring for, housing and financially supporting both their parents and children. Interestingly, upper class and working class families have continued to do this as a matter of course or of economic necessity, but for 200 years, the middle class has increasingly defined itself by the ease with which their children establish separate, independent nuclear households and tailored their parenting and va ...more
Oct 21, 2013 Jooyoung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kathy Newman is one of my favorite public ethnographers. She has an impressive range of knowledge on topics that are at the frontlines of public debate. From the working lives of the urban poor and the school shootings, to her most recent work on "accordion families," Newman keeps finding interesting ways to use her sociological imagination. I enjoyed reading about the experiences of twenty and thirtysomethings who decide to live at home while they figure out the rest of their lives. Her researc ...more
Matthew Green
May 20, 2016 Matthew Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by The Accordion Family. I was expecting a detailed analysis of the trend in an American context. Newman provides this, along with a comparative cross-national approach that considers the causes and implications of accordion families in societies such as Japan, Italy, and Spain. It's a very interesting read full of sociological insight.
Don O'goodreader
Subject: Adults around the world who still live with their parents.
Style: Repetitive, redundant, reporting of statistics and anecdotes.
Summary: Without redeeming social value.

Caveat: Couldn't finish it, skipped to the conclusion, congratulated myself.
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Katherine Newman is Professor of Sociology and James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Author of several books on middle class economic instability, urban poverty, and the sociology of inequality, she previously taught at the University of California (Berkeley), Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton.
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