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Linda M Burton, Dean of Social Sciences and James B. Duke Professor of Sociology

Linda M Burton


Short Description of Research Approach:

Linda M Burton
Dean of Social Sciences and James B. Duke Professor of Sociology

Office Info

Office: 348A Soc/Psych Building
Phone: (919) 660-5609
Email Address:   send me a message
Fax: 919-660-5623
Office hrs:

Other Links

Personal Web Page

Areas of Interest:

Intergenerational Families,
Family Life Course Transitions,
Neighborhood Context,
Ethnographic Methods
My program of research is conceptually grounded in life course, developmental, and ecological perspectives and focuses on three themes concerning the lives of America's poorest urban, small town, and rural families: (1) intergenerational family structures, processes, and role transitions; (2) the meaning of context and place in the daily lives of families; and, (3) childhood adultification and the accelerated life course. My methodological approach to exploring these issues is comparative, longitudinal, and multi-method. The comparative dimension of my research comprises in-depth within group analysis of low income African American, White, and, Hispanic/Latino families, as well as systematic examinations of similarities and differences across groups. I employ longitudinal designs in my studies to identify distinct and often nuanced contextual and ethnic/racial features of development that shape the family structures, processes (e.g., intergenerational care-giving) and life course transitions (e.g., grandparenthood, marriage) families experience over time. I am principally an ethnographer, but integrate survey and geographic and spatial analysis in my work. I was one of six principal investigators involved in an multisite, multi-method collaborative study of the impact of welfare reform on families and children (Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study). I directed the ethnographic component of the Three-City Study and was also principal investigator of an ethnographic study of rural poverty and child development (The Family Life Project). 

Selected Publications/Recent Research:

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

    Brady, D. & Burton, L.M. (Eds.)  (2013) . Oxford handbook of poverty and society (forthcoming)    Oxford University Press

    Burton, L.M. & Stack, C. B.  (2013) . “Breakfast at Elmo’s:” Adolescent boys and disruptive politics in the Kinscripts’ narrative    A.Garey, R. Hertz, & M. Nelson. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press

    Burton, L.M. Lichter, D.T., Baker, R.S., & Eason, J.M.  (2013) . Inequality, family processes, and health in the “new” rural America    American Behavioral Scientist , Vol. 57, No. 8, , 1128-1151

    Burton, L.M. & Hardaway, C.R.  (2013) . Low-income mothers as "othermothers" to their romantic partners' children: Women's coparenting in multiple partner fertility family structures    Family Process , Vol. 51 , 343-359

    Burton, L.M., Garrett-Peters, R., & Eason, J  (2011) . Morality, Identity, and Mental Health in Rural Ghettos    Communities, Neighborhoods, and Health: Expanding the Boundaries of Place NY: Springer

    Burton, L.M., Bonilla-Silva, E., Ray, V., Buckelew, R., & Hordge Freeman, E.  (2010) . Critical race theories, colorism, and the decade's research on families of color    Journal of Marriage and Family , Vol. 72 , 440-459

    Burton, L.M., & Bromell, L.  (2010) . Childhood illness, family comorbidity, and cumulative disadvantage: An ethnographic treatise on low-income mothers' health in later life    Annual Review of Gertontology and Geriatrics , 231-263

    Burton, L.M., Cherlin, A., Winn, D.M., Estacion, A., & Holder-Taylor, C.  (2009) . The role of trust in low-income mothers' intimate unions    Journal of Marriage and Family , Vol. 71 , 1107 - 1127


Course Descriptions:


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