Categorically Unequal

The American Stratification System

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Author: Douglas S. Massey

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610443802

Category: Social Science

Page: 340

View: 7512

The United States holds the dubious distinction of having the most unequal income distribution of any advanced industrialized nation. While other developed countries face similar challenges from globalization and technological change, none rivals America's singularly poor record for equitably distributing the benefits and burdens of recent economic shifts. In Categorically Unequal, Douglas Massey weaves together history, political economy, and even neuropsychology to provide a comprehensive explanation of how America's culture and political system perpetuates inequalities between different segments of the population. Categorically Unequal is striking both for its theoretical originality and for the breadth of topics it covers. Massey argues that social inequalities arise from the universal human tendency to place others into social categories. In America, ethnic minorities, women, and the poor have consistently been the targets of stereotyping, and as a result, they have been exploited and discriminated against throughout the nation's history. African-Americans continue to face discrimination in markets for jobs, housing, and credit. Meanwhile, the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border has discouraged Mexican migrants from leaving the United States, creating a pool of exploitable workers who lack the legal rights of citizens. Massey also shows that women's advances in the labor market have been concentrated among the affluent and well-educated, while low-skilled female workers have been relegated to occupations that offer few chances for earnings mobility. At the same time, as the wages of low-income men have fallen, more working-class women are remaining unmarried and raising children on their own. Even as minorities and women continue to face these obstacles, the progressive legacy of the New Deal has come under frontal assault. The government has passed anti-union legislation, made taxes more regressive, allowed the real value of the federal minimum wage to decline, and drastically cut social welfare spending. As a result, the income gap between the richest and poorest has dramatically widened since 1980. Massey attributes these anti-poor policies in part to the increasing segregation of neighborhoods by income, which has insulated the affluent from the social consequences of poverty, and to the disenfranchisement of the poor, as the population of immigrants, prisoners, and ex-felons swells. America's unrivaled disparities are not simply the inevitable result of globalization and technological change. As Massey shows, privileged groups have systematically exploited and excluded many of their fellow Americans. By delving into the root causes of inequality in America, Categorically Unequal provides a compelling argument for the creation of a more equitable society. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Centennial Series

Categorically Unequal

The American Stratification System

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Author: Douglas S. Massey

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 9780871545848

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 319

View: 3430

The United States holds the dubious distinction of having the most unequal income distribution of any advanced industrialized nation. While other developed countries face similar challenges from globalization and technological change, none rivals America’s singularly poor record for equitably distributing the benefits and burdens of recent economic shifts. In Categorically Unequal, Douglas Massey weaves together history, political economy, and even neuropsychology to provide a comprehensive explanation of how America’s culture and political system perpetuates inequalities between different segments of the population. Categorically Unequal is striking both for its theoretical originality and for the breadth of topics it covers. Massey argues that social inequalities arise from the universal human tendency to place others into social categories. In America, ethnic minorities, women, and the poor have consistently been the targets of stereotyping, and as a result, they have been exploited and discriminated against throughout the nation’s history. African-Americans continue to face discrimination in markets for jobs, housing, and credit. Meanwhile, the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border has discouraged Mexican migrants from leaving the United States, creating a pool of exploitable workers who lack the legal rights of citizens. Massey also shows that women’s advances in the labor market have been concentrated among the affluent and well-educated, while low-skilled female workers have been relegated to occupations that offer few chances for earnings mobility. At the same time, as the wages of low-income men have fallen, more working-class women are remaining unmarried and raising children on their own. Even as minorities and women continue to face these obstacles, the progressive legacy of the New Deal has come under frontal assault. The government has passed anti-union legislation, made taxes more regressive, allowed the real value of the federal minimum wage to decline, and drastically cut social welfare spending. As a result, the income gap between the richest and poorest has dramatically widened since 1980. Massey attributes these anti-poor policies in part to the increasing segregation of neighborhoods by income, which has insulated the affluent from the social consequences of poverty, and to the disenfranchisement of the poor, as the population of immigrants, prisoners, and ex-felons swells. America’s unrivaled disparities are not simply the inevitable result of globalization and technological change. As Massey shows, privileged groups have systematically exploited and excluded many of their fellow Americans. By delving into the root causes of inequality in America, Categorically Unequal provides a compelling argument for the creation of a more equitable society. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Centennial Series

Categorically Unequal

The American Stratification System

DOWNLOAD NOW »

Author: Douglas S. Massey

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 9780871545855

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 319

View: 7683

The United States holds the dubious distinction of having the most unequal income distribution of any advanced industrialized nation. While other developed countries face similar challenges from globalization and technological change, none rivals America’s singularly poor record for equitably distributing the benefits and burdens of recent economic shifts. In Categorically Unequal, Douglas Massey weaves together history, political economy, and even neuropsychology to provide a comprehensive explanation of how America’s culture and political system perpetuates inequalities between different segments of the population. Categorically Unequal is striking both for its theoretical originality and for the breadth of topics it covers. Massey argues that social inequalities arise from the universal human tendency to place others into social categories. In America, ethnic minorities, women, and the poor have consistently been the targets of stereotyping, and as a result, they have been exploited and discriminated against throughout the nation’s history. African-Americans continue to face discrimination in markets for jobs, housing, and credit. Meanwhile, the militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border has discouraged Mexican migrants from leaving the United States, creating a pool of exploitable workers who lack the legal rights of citizens. Massey also shows that women’s advances in the labor market have been concentrated among the affluent and well-educated, while low-skilled female workers have been relegated to occupations that offer few chances for earnings mobility. At the same time, as the wages of low-income men have fallen, more working-class women are remaining unmarried and raising children on their own. Even as minorities and women continue to face these obstacles, the progressive legacy of the New Deal has come under frontal assault. The government has passed anti-union legislation, made taxes more regressive, allowed the real value of the federal minimum wage to decline, and drastically cut social welfare spending. As a result, the income gap between the richest and poorest has dramatically widened since 1980. Massey attributes these anti-poor policies in part to the increasing segregation of neighborhoods by income, which has insulated the affluent from the social consequences of poverty, and to the disenfranchisement of the poor, as the population of immigrants, prisoners, and ex-felons swells. America’s unrivaled disparities are not simply the inevitable result of globalization and technological change. As Massey shows, privileged groups have systematically exploited and excluded many of their fellow Americans. By delving into the root causes of inequality in America, Categorically Unequal provides a compelling argument for the creation of a more equitable society. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Centennial Series

America Works

Thoughts on an Exceptional U.S. Labor Market

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Author: Richard B. Freeman

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610442172

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 208

View: 3448

The U.S. labor market is the most laissez faire of any developed nation, with a weak social safety net and little government regulation compared to Europe or Japan. Some economists point to this hands-off approach as the source of America's low unemployment and high per-capita income. But the stagnant living standards and rising economic insecurity many Americans now face take some of the luster off the U.S. model. In America Works, noted economist Richard Freeman reveals how U.S. policies have created a labor market remarkable both for its dynamism and its disparities. America Works takes readers on a grand tour of America's exceptional labor market, comparing the economic institutions and performance of the United States to the economies of Europe and other wealthy countries. The U.S. economy has an impressive track record when it comes to job creation and productivity growth, but it isn't so good at reducing poverty or raising the wages of the average worker. Despite huge gains in productivity, most Americans are hardly better off than they were a generation ago. The median wage is actually lower now than in the early 1970s, and the poverty rate in 2005 was higher than in 1969. So why have the benefits of productivity growth been distributed so unevenly? One reason is that unions have been steadily declining in membership. In Europe, labor laws extend collective bargaining settlements to non-unionized firms. Because wage agreements in America only apply to firms where workers are unionized, American managers have discouraged unionization drives more aggressively. In addition, globalization and immigration have placed growing competitive pressure on American workers. And boards of directors appointed by CEOs have raised executive pay to astronomical levels. Freeman addresses these problems with a variety of proposals designed to maintain the vigor of the U.S. economy while spreading more of its benefits to working Americans. To maintain America's global competitive edge, Freeman calls for increased R&D spending and financial incentives for students pursuing graduate studies in science and engineering. To improve corporate governance, he advocates licensing individuals who serve on corporate boards. Freeman also makes the case for fostering worker associations outside of the confines of traditional unions and for establishing a federal agency to promote profit-sharing and employee ownership. Assessing the performance of the U.S. job market in light of other developed countries' recent history highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the free market model. Written with authoritative knowledge and incisive wit, America Works provides a compelling plan for how we can make markets work better for all Americans. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Centennial Series

Envy Up, Scorn Down

How Status Divides Us

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Author: Susan T. Fiske

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610447093

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 5775

An insightful examination of why we compare ourselves to those above and below us. The United States was founded on the principle of equal opportunity for all, and this ethos continues to inform the nation’s collective identity. In reality, however, absolute equality is elusive. The gap between rich and poor has widened in recent decades, and the United States has the highest level of economic inequality of any developed country. Social class and other differences in status reverberate throughout American life, and prejudice based on another’s perceived status persists among individuals and groups. In Envy Up, Scorn Down, noted social psychologist Susan Fiske examines the psychological underpinnings of interpersonal and intergroup comparisons, exploring why we compare ourselves to those both above and below us and analyzing the social consequences of such comparisons in day-to-day life. What motivates individuals, groups, and cultures to envy the status of some and scorn the status of others? Who experiences envy and scorn most? Envy Up, Scorn Down marshals a wealth of recent psychological studies as well as findings based on years of Fiske’s own research to address such questions. She shows that both envy and scorn have distinctive biological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics. And though we are all “wired” for comparison, some individuals are more vulnerable to these motives than others. Dominant personalities, for example, express envy toward high-status groups such as the wealthy and well-educated, and insecurity can lead others to scorn those perceived to have lower status, such as women, minorities, or the disabled. Fiske shows that one’s race or ethnicity, gender, and education all correlate with perceived status. Regardless of whether one is accorded higher or lower status, however, all groups rank their members, and all societies rank the various groups within them. We rate each group as either friend or foe, able or unable, and accordingly assign them the traits of warmth or competence. The majority of groups in the United States are ranked either warm or competent but not both, with extreme exceptions: the homeless or the very poor are considered neither warm nor competent. Societies across the globe view older people as warm but incompetent. Conversely, the very rich are generally considered cold but highly competent. Envy Up, Scorn Down explores the nuances of status hierarchies and their consequences and shows that such prejudice in its most virulent form dehumanizes and can lead to devastating outcomes—from the scornful neglect of the homeless to the envious anger historically directed at Tutsis in Rwanda or Jews in Europe. Individuals, groups, and even cultures will always make comparisons between and among themselves. Envy Up, Scorn Down is an accessible and insightful examination of drives we all share and the prejudice that can accompany comparison. The book deftly shows that understanding envy and scorn—and seeking to mitigate their effects—can prove invaluable to our lives, our relationships, and our society.

Problem of the Century

Racial Stratification in the United States

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Author: Elijah Anderson,Douglas Massey

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610448391

Category: Social Science

Page: 480

View: 2155

In 1899 the great African American scholar, W.E.B. DuBois, published The Philadelphia Negro, the first systematic case study of an African American community and one of the foundations of American sociology. DuBois prophesied that the color line would be the problem of the twentieth century. One hundred years later, Problem of the Century reflects upon his prophecy, exploring the ways in which the color line is still visible in the labor market, the housing market, education, family structure, and many other aspects of life at the turn of a new century. The book opens with a theoretical discussion of the way racial identity is constructed and institutionalized. When the government classifies races and confers group rights upon them, is it subtly reenforcing damaging racial divisions, or redressing the group privileges that whites monopolized for so long? The book also delineates the social dynamics that underpin racial inequality. The contributors explore the causes and consequences of high rates of mortality and low rates of marriage in black communities, as well as the way race affects a person's chances of economic success. African Americans may soon lose their historical position as America's majority minority, and the book also examines how race plays out in the sometimes fractious relations between blacks and immigrants. The final part of the book shows how the color line manifests itself at work and in schools. Contributors find racial issues at play on both ends of the occupational ladder—among absentee fathers paying child support from their meager earnings and among black executives prospering in the corporate world. In the schools, the book explores how race defines a student's peer group and how peer pressure affects a student's grades. Problem of the Century draws upon the distinguished faculty of sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania, where DuBois conducted his research for The Philadelphia Negro. The contributors combine a scrupulous commitment to empirical inquiry with an eclectic openness to different methods and approaches. Problem of the Century blends ethnographies and surveys, statistics and content analyses, census data and historical records, to provide a far-reaching examination of racial inequality in all its contemporary manifestations.

Unequal Treatment:

Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care (with CD)

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Author: Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care,Board on Health Sciences Policy,Institute of Medicine

Publisher: National Academies Press

ISBN: 030908265X

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 432

View: 1568

Racial and ethnic disparities in health care are known to reflect access to care and other issues that arise from differing socioeconomic conditions. There is, however, increasing evidence that even after such differences are accounted for, race and ethnicity remain significant predictors of the quality of health care received. In Unequal Treatment, a panel of experts documents this evidence and explores how persons of color experience the health care environment. The book examines how disparities in treatment may arise in health care systems and looks at aspects of the clinical encounter that may contribute to such disparities. Patients' and providers' attitudes, expectations, and behavior are analyzed. How to intervene? Unequal Treatment offers recommendations for improvements in medical care financing, allocation of care, availability of language translation, community-based care, and other arenas. The committee highlights the potential of cross-cultural education to improve provider-patient communication and offers a detailed look at how to integrate cross-cultural learning within the health professions. The book concludes with recommendations for data collection and research initiatives. Unequal Treatment will be vitally important to health care policymakers, administrators, providers, educators, and students as well as advocates for people of color.

New Faces in New Places

The Changing Geography of American Immigration

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Author: Douglas S. Massey

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610443810

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

View: 8016

Beginning in the 1990s, immigrants to the United States increasingly bypassed traditional gateway cites such as Los Angeles and New York to settle in smaller towns and cities throughout the nation. With immigrant communities popping up in so many new places, questions about ethnic diversity and immigrant assimilation confront more and more Americans. New Faces in New Places, edited by distinguished sociologist Douglas Massey, explores today's geography of immigration and examines the ways in which native-born Americans are dealing with their new neighbors. Using the latest census data and other population surveys, New Faces in New Places examines the causes and consequences of the shift toward new immigrant destinations. Contributors Mark Leach and Frank Bean examine the growing demand for low-wage labor and lower housing costs that have attracted many immigrants to move beyond the larger cities. Katharine Donato, Charles Tolbert, Alfred Nucci, and Yukio Kawano report that the majority of Mexican immigrants are no longer single male workers but entire families, who are settling in small towns and creating a surge among some rural populations long in decline. Katherine Fennelly shows how opinions about the growing immigrant population in a small Minnesota town are divided along socioeconomic lines among the local inhabitants. The town's leadership and professional elites focus on immigrant contributions to the economic development and the diversification of the community, while working class residents fear new immigrants will bring crime and an increased tax burden to their communities. Helen Marrow reports that many African Americans in the rural south object to Hispanic immigrants benefiting from affirmative action even though they have just arrived in the United States and never experienced historical discrimination. As Douglas Massey argues in his conclusion, many of the towns profiled in this volume are not equipped with the social and economic institutions to help assimilate new immigrants that are available in the traditional immigrant gateways of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. And the continual replenishment of the flow of immigrants may adversely affect the nation's perception of how today's newcomers are assimilating relative to previous waves of immigrants. New Faces in New Places illustrates the many ways that communities across the nation are reacting to the arrival of immigrant newcomers, and suggests that patterns and processes of assimilation in the twenty-first century may be quite different from those of the past. Enriched by perspectives from sociology, anthropology, and geography New Faces in New Places is essential reading for scholars of immigration and all those interested in learning the facts about new faces in new places in America.

Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

Supporting Racially and Ethnically Underrepresented Students

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Author: Rachelle Winkle-Wagner,Angela M. Locks

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136576185

Category: Education

Page: 220

View: 9539

As scholars and practitioners in higher education attempt to embrace and lead diversity efforts, it is imperative that they have an understanding of the issues that affect historically underrepresented students. Using an intersectional approach that connects the categories of race, class, and gender, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus comprehensively covers the range of college experiences, from gaining access to higher education to successfully persisting through degree programs. Authors Winkle-Wagner and Locks bridge research, theory, and practice related to the ways that peers, faculty, administrators, and institutions can and do influence racially and ethnically underrepresented students’ experiences. This book is an invaluable resource for future and current higher education and student affairs practitioners working toward full inclusion and participation for all students in higher education. Special features: Chapter Case Studies—cases written by on-the-ground practitioners help readers make meaningful connections between theory, research, and practice. Coverage of Theory and Research—each chapter provides a systematic treatment of the literature and research related to underrepresented students’ experiences of getting into college, getting through college, and getting out of college. Discussion Questions—questions encourage practitioners and researchers to explore concepts in more depth, consider best practices, and make connections to their own contexts.

Blind to Sameness

Sexpectations and the Social Construction of Male and Female Bodies

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Author: Asia Friedman

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022602377X

Category: Social Science

Page: 216

View: 2130

What is the role of the senses in how we understand the world? Cognitive sociology has long addressed the way we perceive or imagine boundaries in our ordinary lives, but Asia Friedman pushes this question further still. How, she asks, did we come to blind ourselves to sex sameness? Drawing on more than sixty interviews with two decidedly different populations—the blind and the transgendered—Blind to Sameness answers provocative questions about the relationships between sex differences, biology, and visual perception. Both groups speak from unique perspectives that magnify the social construction of dominant visual conceptions of sex, allowing Friedman to examine the visual construction of the sexed body and highlighting the processes of social perception underlying our everyday experience of male and female bodies. The result is a notable contribution to the sociologies of gender, culture, and cognition that will revolutionize the way we think about sex.

Analyzing Oppression

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Author: Ann E. Cudd

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0195187431

Category: Philosophy

Page: 278

View: 7381

This text presents an integrated theory of social oppression, which tackles the fundamental question: if there is no natural hierarchy among humans, why are some cases of oppression so persistent? It argues that the explanation lies in the coercive co-opting of the oppressed to join in their own oppression.

The Colors of Poverty

Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist

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Author: Ann Chih Lin,David R. Harris

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610447247

Category: Social Science

Page: 344

View: 3132

Given the increasing diversity of the nation—particularly with respect to its growing Hispanic and Asian populations—why does racial and ethnic difference so often lead to disadvantage? In The Colors of Poverty, a multidisciplinary group of experts provides a breakthrough analysis of the complex mechanisms that connect poverty and race. The Colors of Poverty reframes the debate over the causes of minority poverty by emphasizing the cumulative effects of disadvantage in perpetuating poverty across generations. The contributors consider a kaleidoscope of factors that contribute to widening racial gaps, including education, racial discrimination, social capital, immigration, and incarceration. Michèle Lamont and Mario Small grapple with the theoretical ambiguities of existing cultural explanations for poverty disparities. They argue that culture and structure are not competing explanations for poverty, but rather collaborate to produce disparities. Looking at how attitudes and beliefs exacerbate racial stratification, social psychologist Heather Bullock links the rise of inequality in the United States to an increase in public tolerance for disparity. She suggests that the American ethos of rugged individualism and meritocracy erodes support for antipoverty programs and reinforces the belief that people are responsible for their own poverty. Sociologists Darren Wheelock and Christopher Uggen focus on the collateral consequences of incarceration in exacerbating racial disparities and are the first to propose a link between legislation that blocks former drug felons from obtaining federal aid for higher education and the black/white educational attainment gap. Joe Soss and Sanford Schram argue that the increasingly decentralized and discretionary nature of state welfare programs allows for different treatment of racial groups, even when such policies are touted as "race-neutral." They find that states with more blacks and Hispanics on welfare rolls are consistently more likely to impose lifetime limits, caps on benefits for mothers with children, and stricter sanctions. The Colors of Poverty is a comprehensive and evocative introduction to the dynamics of race and inequality. The research in this landmark volume moves scholarship on inequality beyond a simple black-white paradigm, beyond the search for a single cause of poverty, and beyond the promise of one "magic bullet" solution. A Volume in the National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy

Symbolism and Ritual in a One-party Regime

Unveiling Mexico's Political Culture

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Author: Larissa Adler de Lomnitz,Rodrigo Salazar Elena,Ilya Adler

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

ISBN: 9780816527533

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 3057

Because of the long dominance of MexicoÕs leading political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the campaigns of its presidential candidates were never considered relevant in determining the victor. This book offers an ethnography of the Mexican political system under PRI hegemony, focusing on the relationship between the formal democratic structure of the state and the unofficial practices of the underlying political culture, and addressing the question of what purpose campaigns serve when the outcome is predetermined. Discussing Mexican presidential politics from the perspectives of anthropology, political science, and communications science, the authors analyze the 1988 presidential campaign of Carlos Salinas de GortariÑthe last great campaign of the PRI to display the characteristics traditionally found in the twentieth century. These detailed descriptions of campaign events show that their ritualistic nature expressed both a national culture and an aura of domination. The authors describe the political and cultural context in which this campaign took placeÑan authoritarian presidential system that dated from the 1920sÑand explain how the constitutional provisions of the state interacted with the informal practices of the party to produce highly scripted symbolic rituals. Their analysis probes such topics as the meanings behind the candidateÕs behavior, the effects of public opinion polling, and the role of the press, then goes on to show how the system has begun to change since 2000. By dealing with the campaign from multiple perspectives, the authors reveal it as a rite of passage that sheds light on the political culture of the country. Their study expands our understanding of authoritarianism during the years of PRI dominance and facilitates comparison of current practices with those of the past.

Unequal Childhoods

Class, Race, and Family Life, Second Edition with an Update a Decade Later

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Author: Annette Lareau

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520271424

Category: Social Science

Page: 461

View: 347

This book is a powerful portrayal of class inequalities in the United States. It contains insightful analysis of the processes through which inequality is reproduced, and it frankly engages with methodological and analytic dilemmas usually glossed over in academic texts.

Stratification

Social Division and Inequality

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Author: Wendy Bottero

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415281782

Category: Social Science

Page: 283

View: 8678

Offering a fresh and exciting new perspective on differentiation and inequality, this absorbing book investigates how our most personal choices (of sexual partners, friends, consumption items and lifestyle) are influenced by hierarchy and social difference. Exploring the topics of assortative mating; social capital; friendship networks and cultural identity; the book examines how hierarchy affects our tastes and leisure time activities, and who we choose (and hang on to) as our friends and partners. This book: * introduces debates on stratification by exploring its effect on everyday social relations * relates class inequalities to broader processes of social division and cultural differentiation, exploring the associational and cultural aspects of hierarchy * explores how groups draw on social, economic and cultural resources, using cultural 'cues', to admit some and exclude others from their social circle * explores new theoretical approaches to stratification: drawing on cultural theories of class, social interaction approaches, and research on differential association The book has a novel and fresh new way of looking at a well-established area in sociology - social stratification.

The Fragile Middle Class

Americans in Debt

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Author: Teresa A. Sullivan,Elizabeth Warren,Jay Lawrence Westbrook

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300128142

Category: Social Science

Page: 400

View: 1391

Since 1997, the number of American families filing for federal bankruptcy annually has exceeded one million. By most measures, those who file are members of the middle class—a group that has long provided stability and vitality for the American economic system. This raises the troubling question: why, during the most remarkable period of prosperity in our history, are unprecedented numbers of Americans encountering such serious financial trouble? The authors of this important book analyze court records and demographic data on thousands of bankruptcy cases, as well as debtors’ own poignant accounts of the reasons for their bankruptcies. For many middle-class Americans, the findings show, financial stability is fragile—almost any setback can be disastrous. The erosion of job stability, divorce and family instability, the visible and invisible costs of medical care, the burden of home ownership, and the staggering weight of consumer debt financed with plastic combine to threaten the financial security of growing numbers of middle-class families. The authors view the bankruptcy process in the light of changing cultural and economic factors and consider what this may signify for the future of a large, secure, and dynamic middle class.

Spheres of Influence

The Social Ecology of Racial and Class Inequality

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Author: Douglas S. Massey,Stefanie Brodmann

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610448227

Category: Social Science

Page: 452

View: 7226

The black-white divide has long haunted the United States as a driving force behind social inequality. Yet, the civil rights movement, the increase in immigration, and the restructuring of the economy in favor of the rich over the last several decades have begun to alter the contours of inequality. Spheres of Influence, co-authored by noted social scientists Douglas S. Massey and Stefanie Brodmann, presents a rigorous new study of the intersections of racial and class disparities today. Massey and Brodmann argue that despite the persistence of potent racial inequality, class effects are drastically transforming social stratification in America. This data-intensive volume examines the differences in access to material, symbolic, and emotional resources across major racial groups. The authors find that the effects of racial inequality are exacerbated by the class differences within racial groups. For example, when measuring family incomes solely according to race, Massey and Brodmann found that black families’ average income measured $28,400, compared to Hispanic families’ $35,200. But this gap was amplified significantly when class differences within each group were taken into account. With class factored in, inequality across blacks’ and Hispanics’ family incomes increased by a factor of almost four, with lower class black families earning an average income of only $9,300 compared to $97,000 for upper class Hispanics. Massey and Brodmann found similar interactions between class and racial effects on the distribution of symbolic resources, such as occupational status, and emotional resources, such as the presence of a biological father—across racial groups. Although there are racial differences in each group’s access to these resources, like income, these disparities are even more pronounced once class is factored in. The complex interactions between race and class are apparent in other social spheres, such as health and education. In looking at health disparities across groups, Massey and Brodmann observed no single class effect on the propensity to smoke cigarettes. Among whites, cigarette smoking declined with rising class standing, whereas among Hispanics it increased as class rose. Among Asians and blacks, there was no class difference at all. Similarly, the authors found no single effect of race alone on health: Health differences between whites, Asians, Hispanics, and blacks were small and non-significant in the upper class, but among those in the lower class, intergroup differences were pronounced. As Massey and Brodmann show, in the United States, a growing kaleidoscope of race-class interactions has replaced pure racial and class disadvantages. By advancing an ecological model of human development that considers the dynamics of race and class across multiple social spheres, Spheres of Influence sheds important light on the factors that are currently driving inequality today.

Return of the "L" Word

A Liberal Vision for the New Century

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Author: Douglas S. Massey

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400826513

Category: Political Science

Page: 240

View: 3843

Somewhere in the 1970s liberals in the United States lost their way. After successes like the New Deal, they became arrogant. So argues Douglas Massey in Return of the "L" Word. Faced with the difficult politics of race and class, liberals used the heavy hand of government to impose policies on a resentful public. Conservatives capitalized on this with a staunch ideology of free markets, limited government, and conservative social values. The time is ripe for a liberal realignment, declares Massey, but what has been lacking is a consistent liberal ideology that explains to voters, in simple terms, government's vital role in producing a healthier, more financially equitable, less divided society. This book supplies that ideology. Massey begins his powerful manifesto by laying out the liberals' mistakes over the past twenty years. Drawing on insights from the expanding field of economic sociology, he then sets forth a clear set of liberal principles to explain how markets work in society, principles he applies to articulate salable liberal policies. After outlining a new liberal political philosophy, Massey traces liberalism's opposition and says plainly: liberals should have no illusions about the competition's resolve and skill. He closes with a practical approach to liberal coalition-building in America. The political economy conservatives have constructed in recent decades has benefited 20 percent of the people. Liberal success requires a return to material rather than symbolic politics, showing most Americans why it is in their economic as well as moral interest to support the liberal cause.

Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (Large Print 16pt)

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Author: Neil Gross,Professor of Sociology Neil Gross

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 145960623X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 838

View: 5675

On his death in 2007, Richard Rorty was heralded by the New York Times as ''one of the world's most influential contemporary thinkers.'' Controversial on the left and the right for his critiques of objectivity and political radicalism, Rorty experienced a renown denied to all but a handful of living philosophers. In this masterly biography, Neil Gross explores the path of Rorty's thought over the decades in order to trace the intellectual and professional journey that led him to that prominence. The child of a pair of leftist writers who worried that their precocious son ''wasn't rebellious enough, '' Rorty enrolled at the University of Chicago at the age of fifteen. There he came under the tutelage of polymath Richard McKeon, whose catholic approach to philosophical systems would profoundly influence Rorty's own thought. Doctoral work at Yale led to Rorty's landing a job at Princeton, where his colleagues were primarily analytic philosophers. With a series of publications in the 1960s, Rorty quickly established himself as a strong thinker in that tradition - but by the late 1970s Rorty had eschewed the idea of objective truth altogether, urging philosophers to take a ''relaxed attitude'' toward the question of logical rigor. Drawing on the pragmatism of John Dewey, he argued that philosophers should instead open themselves up to multiple methods of thought and sources of knowledge - an approach that would culminate in the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, one of the most seminal and controversial philosophical works of our time. In clear and compelling fashion, Gross sets that surprising shift in Rorty's thought in the context of his life and social experiences, revealing the many disparate influences that contribute to the making of knowledge. As much a book about the growth of ideas as it is a biography of a philosopher, Richard Rorty will provide readers with a fresh understanding of both the man and the course of twentieth-century thought.

Beyond Smoke and Mirrors

Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration

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Author: Douglas S. Massey,Jorge Durand,Nolan J. Malone

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610443829

Category: Social Science

Page: 216

View: 9477

Migration between Mexico and the United States is part of a historical process of increasing North American integration. This process acquired new momentum with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, which lowered barriers to the movement of goods, capital, services, and information. But rather than include labor in this new regime, the United States continues to resist the integration of the labor markets of the two countries. Instead of easing restrictions on Mexican labor, the United States has militarized its border and adopted restrictive new policies of immigrant disenfranchisement. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors examines the devastating impact of these immigration policies on the social and economic fabric of the Mexico and the United States, and calls for a sweeping reform of the current system. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors shows how U.S. immigration policies enacted between 1986–1996—largely for symbolic domestic political purposes—harm the interests of Mexico, the United States, and the people who migrate between them. The costs have been high. The book documents how the massive expansion of border enforcement has wasted billions of dollars and hundreds of lives, yet has not deterred increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from heading north. The authors also show how the new policies unleashed a host of unintended consequences: a shift away from seasonal, circular migration toward permanent settlement; the creation of a black market for Mexican labor; the transformation of Mexican immigration from a regional phenomenon into a broad social movement touching every region of the country; and even the lowering of wages for legal U.S. residents. What had been a relatively open and benign labor process before 1986 was transformed into an exploitative underground system of labor coercion, one that lowered wages and working conditions of undocumented migrants, legal immigrants, and American citizens alike. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors offers specific proposals for repairing the damage. Rather than denying the reality of labor migration, the authors recommend regularizing it and working to manage it so as to promote economic development in Mexico, minimize costs and disruptions for the United States, and maximize benefits for all concerned. This book provides an essential "user's manual" for readers seeking a historical, theoretical, and substantive understanding of how U.S. policy on Mexican immigration evolved to its current dysfunctional state, as well as how it might be fixed.