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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) . The Oxford handbook of the social science of poverty    N.Y. Oxford University Press

    Burton, L.M.  (2014) . Seeking romance in the crosshairs of multiple partner fertility: Ethnographic insights on low-income urban and rural mothers    The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science , Vol. 654 , 185-212

    Garrett-Peters, R. & Burton, L.M.  (2014) . Tenuous ties: The nature and costs of kin support among low-income rural African American mothers    Women, Gender, and Families of Color

    Burton, L.M. & Stack, C. B.  (2014) . 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., 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. 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


Course Descriptions:


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