Aunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life

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Baylor University Press, 2010 - 223 pages
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"As contemporary families assume ever more complex configurations, this fascinating, deeply researched book demonstrates that aunts have become more important than ever."---Steven Mintz, Columbia University, author of Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

"Aunting adds immeasurably to the newly emerging literature on families and kinship. This is a wonderfully engaging book brimming with insight."---Robert Milardo, author of The Forgotten Kin

"A delightful read. Aunting is heartily recommended to anyone whose life has been touched by an aunt, niece, or nephew, and to readers interested in family communication."---Lynn Turner, Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Interdisciplinary Family Studies Minor, Marquette University

Whether related by biology, marriage, circumstance, or choice, aunts embody a uniquely flexible familial role. The aunt-niece/nephew relationship---though often overlooked---is critical and complex, one that appears at the core of a resilient, healthy family life.

In this engaging book, Laura Ellingson and Patricia Sotirin construct a consideration of "aunts" that moves from noun to verb. "Aunts" are more than a group of people or a role; instead, "to aunt" is a practice, something people "do." Some women "aunt" as second mothers, friends, or mentors, while others play more peripheral roles. In either case, aunts significantly impact their nieces' and nephews' life choices.

Drawing on personal narratives that represent a rich cross section of society, Ellingson and Sotirin construct a cohesive story of the diversity of aunting experiences in the contemporary United States. Skillfully written, Aunting recovers the enormous potential of this dynamic kinship relationship and offers a model for understanding and supporting the variety of families in society today

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About the author (2010)

Patricia J. Sotirin is Professor of Communication at Michigan Technological University and co-author of Where the Aunts Are - Family, Feminism, and Kinship in Popular Culture with Laura L. Ellingson.

Laura L. Ellingson is Professor of Communication and Women's & Gender Studies at Santa Clara University and co-author of Where the Aunts Are - Family, Feminism, and Kinship in Popular Culture with Patricia J. Sotirin.

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