Critical Essay 2 - Regalado 1 Sam Regalado Professor Park...

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Regalado 1 Sam Regalado Professor Park Sociology 3501 5 November 2009 Critical Essay Exam #2 1. In American culture the term “priceless” has been applied to many things. On a personal front, many parents often tell their children that they are priceless. This means that a child’s emotional worth exceeds anything money can buy. This was not always the case however. The vast emotional worth of a child in society has surfaced only recently. In Viviana A. Zelizer’s book, Pricing the Priceless Child , she discusses the changing value of children within American society. A child’s value has changed over time, and the term “priceless child” carries a strong definition of a child’s exact worth today. To Zelizer, a child is “priceless”. No amount of money or wealth can replace the value of a child. That is why she calls children priceless. This is a common concept throughout American society as well. Many parents believe their children to be the greatest gift imaginable. Their value is immeasurable. The emotional attachment to children today is much stronger than it has been in past centuries. This is especially true in terms of child death. Zelizer states that, “traditional indifference or resignation to child death was a logical psychological response to high mortality rates” (Zelizer, 30). As child mortality rates have dropped, child death is less expected and much harder to bear. In her book, The Commercialization of Intimate Life , Arlie Hochschild notices a different trend emerging in society today regarding the emotional worth of children. Hochschild discusses the role children play in a society where intimate relationships are crumbling. She notes that,
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Regalado 2 “the family is outsourcing more functions to be handled by it. And with this shift, personal tasks… [have] become monetized and to some degree impersonalized” (Hochschild, 31). This trend is especially true as more women shift from roles as housewives to money-earners in professional careers. Hochschild calls this the commodity frontier. The frontier that is emerging as the family and market, which are different, become one in the same (31). Hochschild’s commodity frontier confronts Zelizer’s concept of the “priceless child” with certain challenges. The fact is that neither one fully defines the concept of children in modern society. When looked at together, the value of children in modern society becomes much clearer. The value of a child in modern society is largely dependent on the child’s and parent’s sense of value. Society has become less of a determining factor in recent years. Society says that a child should be priceless. However, families are crumbling as divorce rates and out-of- marriage births rise. Therefore, children feel less attached to one or both parents. Children need support from parents, and when no close relationship is evident, a child’s sense of value is reduced. Single mothers often neglect their children to some degree just to earn enough to
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Critical Essay 2 - Regalado 1 Sam Regalado Professor Park...

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