From 2001 to 2005, a team of social scientists studied 32 middle-class families in Los Angeles, a project documenting every wiggle of life at home. The study was generated by the U.C.L.A. Center on the Everyday Lives of Families to understand how people handled what anthropologists call material culture — what we call stuff. These were dual-earner households in a range of ethnic groups, neighborhoods, incomes and occupations, with at least two children between the ages of 7 and 12 — in other words, households smack in the weeds of family life.
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