9780804738040

The Classless Society

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780804738040

  • ISBN10:

    0804738041

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-09-01
  • Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr
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Summary

Are there classes in America? InThe Classless SocietyPaul Kingston forcefully answers no. This book directly challenges a long-standing intellectual tradition of class analysis, recently revitalized by such prominent scholars as Erik Olin Wright and John Goldthorpe. Insisting on a realist conception of class, Kingston argues that presumed "classes" do not significantly share distinct, life-defining experiences. Individual chapters assess the extent of class structuration in five dimensions of life: mobility (how demographically cohesive are classes?), interaction patterns (do classes exist as communal groups?), cultural orientation (are there class cultures, as Bourdieu and his followers maintain?), class sentiment (to what extent do objective position and subjective sentiments align?), and political orientations (do classes represent distinct political forces?). This broad assessment is the basis for Kingston's conclusion that classes do not exist in America in any meaningful way. The Classless Societyanalyzes prominent general "maps" of the American class structure, as well as the less-studied extremes of socioeconomic position ("Lives of the Rich and Poor"), the alleged emergence of post-industrial classes (the "New Class" and the "McProletariat"), and class structuration in other societies ("American Unexceptionalism"). Kingston rigorously addresses the question, "How would you recognize a class if you saw one?" thus establishing clear grounds for engaging the issue. He relates the findings and methods of the best contemporary research in substantial detail, allowing the reader to assess the book's conclusions from a thorough evidentiary base.

Author Biography

Paul Kingston is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He is the author, most recently, of The Sociology of Public Issues (with Steven Nock).

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
xiii
Preface xv
Framing the Issue
1(15)
What Is Class Theory?
4(3)
The Theoretical Alternative
7(2)
So What?
9(1)
An Anticlass Orthodoxy?
10(4)
Outline of the Book
14(2)
The Case for Realism
16(21)
The Criteria of Structuration
17(6)
Structure vs. Formation?
23(2)
Individuals and the Significance of Boundaries
25(2)
Methodological Considerations
27(10)
Class Maps and Inequality
37(23)
The Cartography of Class
40(7)
A Discursus on Wright's Logic
47(3)
Occupations and Class
50(2)
The Contours of Inequality
52(8)
Mobility
60(27)
Examining Mobility
62(2)
The Evidence
64(5)
The (W)right Analysis?
69(7)
Intragenerational Mobility
76(7)
A Digression on Income Fluctuations
83(2)
Conclusion
85(2)
Class Sentiment
87(14)
The Right Name
89(4)
Other Indicators
93(4)
Consciousness in Action
97(4)
The Politics of Class
101(18)
The Party System
103(2)
Voting
105(3)
A New Dissent
108(2)
Political Attitudes
110(3)
Ownership
113(5)
Conclusion
118(1)
Class Culture
119(30)
A Personal Excursis
119(1)
Casting the Net
120(3)
Bourdieu on Class: A Primer
123(3)
Family Life
126(8)
Class and the Arts
134(6)
Searching for Boundaries
140(4)
Metaphysics, Morals, and Class
144(3)
All the Same?
147(2)
On the Domestic Front: Friends, Residences, and Families
149(10)
Friendships
149(3)
Residence
152(2)
All in the Family?
154(5)
Lives of the Rich and Poor
159(20)
Affluence, Ownership, and Pedigree
159(7)
A Pedigreed Elite?
166(6)
New Elites?
172(1)
The Underclass
173(6)
The Postindustrial Effect
179(10)
A New Class?
179(5)
McProletariat?
184(3)
More General Concerns
187(2)
American Unexceptionalism: A Comparative Perspective
189(20)
Mobility
190(7)
Politics and Consciousness
197(8)
Inequality and Classlessness
205(4)
Beyond Class
209(28)
The Ideology of It All
213(2)
What Is to Be Done?
215(4)
The Past and Future
219(4)
Occupational Solidarities
223(3)
Waiting for Class?
226(2)
Postclass Politics
228(5)
Capitalism Triumphant
233(4)
Notes 237(6)
References 243(10)
Index 253

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