Words at Work and Play

Words at Work and Play : Three Decades in Family and Community Life

3.84 (25 ratings by Goodreads)
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Childhood and family life have changed significantly in recent decades. What is the nature of these changes? How have they affected the use of time, space, work and play? In what ways have they influenced face-to-face talk and the uses of technology within families and communities? Eminent anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath sets out to find answers to these and similar questions, tracking the lives of 300 black and white working-class families as they reshaped their lives in new locations, occupations and interpersonal alignments over a period of thirty years. From the 1981 recession through the economic instabilities and technological developments of the opening decade of the twenty-first century, Shirley Brice Heath shows how families constantly rearrange their patterns of work, language, play and learning in response to economic pressures. This outstanding study is a must-read for anyone interested in family life, language development and social change.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 240 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 b/w illus. 3 maps 8 tables
  • 1139210882
  • 9781139210881

Table of contents

1. On being long in company; 2. A boy finds his mama(s); 3. The closeness of strangers; 4. Embracing talk; 5. Lines of vision; 6. The hand of play; 7. Ways with time and words; 8. Shaping the mainstream.show more

Review quote

'By following the children and grandchildren of Trackton and Roadville into adulthood, Heath provides a unique and moving account of how individuals' language use and lives are shaped by economic and technological developments. Like its predecessor, this is sure to be an instant classic.' Deborah Tannen, Georgetown University and author of You Just Don't Understand and Talking Voices 'The captivating story of how the black and white children Heath studied 30 years ago in her classic book Ways with Words managed to negotiate the American culture and economy.' Allan Collins, Professor Emeritus of Learning Sciences, Northwestern University 'A unique ethnography - at once, a decades-long portrait of families in the Piedmont Carolinas, a survey of the trials and opportunities of the working class, and a panorama of America.' Howard Gardner, author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed '... shows what linguistic anthropology can accomplish in the voice of an accomplished and stylish writer. Heath brings empathy and understanding to the successive hardships and struggles of ordinary families in the USA ... providing fascinating maps of the people's migration patterns, their changing ways of engaging with play and work, and the language interactions among parents and children.' Brian Street, Professor Emeritus of Language in Education, King's College Londonshow more

About Shirley Brice Heath

Shirley Brice Heath, a leading social historian and ethnographer of family life, is Margery Bailey Professor of English and Dramatic Literature and Professor of Linguistics, Emerita, at Stanford University. Her previous publications include Ways with Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms (Cambridge University Press, 1983) and On Ethnography (2008, with Brian Street).show more

Rating details

25 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 36% (9)
4 28% (7)
3 20% (5)
2 16% (4)
1 0% (0)
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