Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $13.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 48%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $13.00   
  • New (6) from $19.10   
  • Used (4) from $13.00   


Stroll through any public park in Brooklyn on a weekday afternoon and you will see black women with white children at every turn. Many of these women are of Caribbean descent, and they have long been a crucial component of New York’s economy, providing childcare for white middle- and upper-middleclass families. Raising Brooklyn offers an in-depth look at the daily lives of these childcare providers, examining the important roles they play in the families whose children they help to raise. Tamara Mose Brown spent three years immersed in these Brooklyn communities: in public parks, public libraries, and living as a fellow resident among their employers, and her intimate tour of the public spaces of gentrified Brooklyn deepens our understanding of how these women use their collective lives to combat the isolation felt during the workday as a domestic worker.

Though at first glance these childcare providers appear isolated and exploited—and this is the case for many—Mose Brown shows that their daily interactions in the social spaces they create allow their collective lives and cultural identities to flourish. Raising Brooklyn demonstrates how these daily interactions form a continuous expression of cultural preservation as a weapon against difficult working conditions, examining how this process unfolds through the use of cell phones, food sharing, and informal economic systems. Ultimately, Raising Brooklyn places the organization of domestic workers within the framework of a social justice movement, creating a dialogue between workers who don’t believe their exploitative work conditions will change and an organization whose members believe change can come about through public displays of solidarity.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The cultural community and work environment of West Indian nannies in the gentrifying neighborhood of Park Slope, in Brooklyn, N.Y., is dissected in this exhaustive sociological survey. Special emphasis is given to how these women meet and support each other in an isolating profession; public parks, libraries, even cellphones are all explored as avenues to find solidarity and collectively define the boundaries of "work" in a job that blurs the borders between the personal and professional. Brown, a woman of West Indian descent and a Park Slope mother, is able to move deftly between the worlds of the parents and the child-care providers, obtaining flashes of insight into both sides. Brisk chapters make for a swift read that gives scope if not always depth--a section on the lack of meaningful overtime pay for nannies especially begs for a more detailed look. Still, as a survey it is a vivid snapshot into the lives of women working in a vast, largely unregulated industry, vulnerable to abuses, and defying odds to create a nourishing community. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Brown has done a masterful job—as a participant observer—of reflecting the everyday world of female domestic laborers. While she, herself, straddles two worlds—belonging to an Afro Caribbean community that is victimized by racism while simultaneously having the financial resources to hire a part-time nanny to care for her two children—her ethnic identity allowed her access to an insular community. The result is both fascinating and compelling.” -www.ElevateDifference.com

“Outsiders can only wonder what West Indian caregivers say to each other as they sit on park benches watching their charges. Mose Brown gives us the answer, in an insightful and fascinating account of how these women create their own social worlds in public spaces. A revealing sociological portrait of women whose work and struggles command respect.”

-Julia Wrigley,author of Education and Gender Equity

"In Raising Brooklyn, public spaces and social networks become the context for an engaging narrative."-Rosanna Hertz,Women's Review of Books

"The employment relationship between women illustrates how gender intersects with other factors (race, class, nationality, citizenship) to reveal deep meaning in the lifes and work of the women on both sides of the social divide" -E. Hu-DeHart,Choice

“Vividly written…Mose Brown’s own voice is especially poignant; her reflexivity about her relationships to others as a researcher, fellow New Yorker and mother is a model for contemporary ethnography.”

-Joanna Dreby,author of Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children

“Mose Brown has entered the hidden realm of West Indian childcare workers and produced a remarkable picture of urban life. This is fine grained, careful ethnography that reveals the taken for granted intimacies and politics of everyday experience.”

-Mitchell Duneier,author of Sidewalk

“A sensitive and nuanced glimpse into the lives of the women who raise so many of Brooklyn’s—and America’s&#8212children. Mose Brown has given us a deeply compelling and timely ethnography.”
-Philip Kasinitz,co-author of Inheriting the City

"Despite economic and cultural marginalization, the West Indian child-care providers profiled in this ethnography carve out strong identities. Congregating in public spaces, such as parks, in majority-white, gentrified Brooklyn, the nannies assert themselves as integral members of their neighborhoods." -Ms. Magazine

"In Raising Brooklyn, Tamara Rose Brown presents a vibrant account of the robust social worlds created by West Indian babysitters...[she] has taken us inside a frequently seen but little-understood social world and has unpacked how it works to nurture its members."-Cameron Macdonald,American Journal of Sociology

“[An] engrossing look at the Caribbean community of child care workers in Brooklyn, NY”

-Library Journal

“Part of a vibrant tradition of ethnographic studies of domestic work, Tamara Mose Brown’s Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community provides a richly detailed description of the community networks of West Indian childcare providers in gentrifying Brooklyn. Drawing on three years of research, including both participant observation and in-depth interviews, Brown illuminates how these women navigate their employee-employer relations, as well as race, class, and gender categories as they move between private and public space."-The Teachers College Record

"In Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, asn Caribbeans Creating Community, Tamara Mose Brown gives a public voice to the concerns, hopes, and fears of West Indian child-care workers of Brooklyn, a tight-knit community of first-generation women who tend thousands of the city's children each day in its public parks."-Catherine Bailey,Zocalo Public Square

Library Journal
In this engrossing look at the Caribbean community of child care workers in Brooklyn, NY, Brown (sociology, Brooklyn Coll.) pays special attention to the playgrounds and parks that they frequent with their charges. "[C]hildcare by nannies is now perceived as something that takes place more in the public than in the private sphere," observes the author, who is herself of Trinidadian descent. Unlike Miriam Forman-Brunell in her more historically encompassing Babysitter: An American History, Brown focuses her well-trained eye on this specific "community of culture" and the ways its members incorporate culinary and other domestic traditions as they relate to each other and the children, who often call them "Mommy." The author is scrupulous in articulating her methodology and is careful to describe how perceptions of her, a dark-skinned mother of two, may have influenced her subjects' reactions. Her conclusions about these child care communities run counter to much received opinion. VERDICT Brown's book is recommended for sociologists, ethnographers, and urban planners.—Ellen Gilbert, Princeton, NJ
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814791431
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/24/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,133,180
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamara Mose Brown is Assistant Professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, Canada. Her parents are from the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The Neighborhood 1

1 West Indians Raising New York 23

2 Public Parks and Social Spaces: Surveillance and the Creation of Communities 37

3 Indoor Public Play Spaces 71

4 A Taste of Home: How Food Creates Community 81

5 Mobility for the Nonmobile: Cell Phones, Technology, and Childcare 101

6 Where's My Money?: How Susus Bridge the Financial Gap 119

7 Organizing Resistance: The Case of Domestic Workers United 131

Conclusion 151

Appendix A Methods 159

Appendix B Demographic Information 173

Notes 181

References 193

Index 205

About the Author 212

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)