Class in American Society

Class in American Society

Class in American Society

Class in American Society

Excerpt

This book is about the place of class and its synonyms, status, prestige, and power, in the structure of American society. A dominant theme of the book is that classes do exist even though individuals are not chained to these social positions with unequivocal finality. This point of view, however, does not imply that everyone -- or even a majority -- reaches the level of economic comfort, social recognition, or authority that he wants or perhaps even deserves. American society at the present time appears to be at a stage that is somewhat short of either extreme, even though we would like to believe in the notion of an open class society that is fair and impartial.

Significantly enough, Americans have become status conscious in the last decade or so, to judge by the literature they read and the vocabulary they use. While popular recognition of class was prevented for decades by the barrier erected by our professed values of equality and the equal accessibility of opportunities, the idea of status has been much more warmly accepted as somehow sounding less harsh, less final, and less materialistic than class. This is a semantic delusion.

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