The American Class Structure

By Joseph A. Kahl | Go to book overview
Indeed, the role of the family in creating the occupational outlook of its children is the major device for perpetuation of stratification position through the generations, far more important in the modern world than the amount of money that is inherited.Beyond these major variables of intelligence and status-determined motivation, there operate subtler variables of personality that influence the strength and type of motivation. Some boys have interests and skills in science, others in art, others in salesmanship. Some crave great success and recognition and power; others prefer to avoid responsibility. And reversing the coin, a man's experiences of success and failure in turn affect his personality. Some gain contentment because they have reached their own goals; others suffer from the anxieties of a sense of inadequacy bred by failure.In dealing with these psychological moods, we must always remember that they are relative to a person's own feeling of what an appropriate success ought to be for a man of his type. Success and failure are not absolutes, but are measured by the goals one set out to achieve. The goals in turn are related to average values within a class level. But why do some men accept the values of their class of birth, and others turn their eyes upward?As research progresses, it is likely that we will develop better measures of the social values and the psychological traits that are characteristic of "typical" members of various status groups. Only then will we be able to discover variations from the typical that cause or result from mobility. As it now stands, our research skills have been, for the most part, devoted to discovering gross attitude differences between such large classifications as manual workers and white-collar workers. But insofar as these groups contain so many members who have been or desire to be mobile, we should not expect the groups to be homogeneous in their attitudes, even though we believe that on the average and in the long run manual workers will display different values from white-collar workers. Some data that now look confusing may turn out to be orderly once we can measure adequately both the typical for each level and the explainable variations from the typical.
REFERENCES
Quoted from Chapter VII, above.
For a general discussion of selection procedures in many societies, see Pitirim Sorokin, Social Mobility ( New York: Harper, 1927), Chaps. VIII and IX.
Adapted from Paul C. Glick, "Educational Attainment and Occupational Advancement," in Transactions of the Second World Congress of Sociology

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The American Class Structure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Tables xvii
  • Figures xviii
  • I - The Dimensions of Class 1
  • References 16
  • II - Position and Prestige 19
  • Conclusions 47
  • References 49
  • III - Occupational Prestige and Social Change 53
  • Conclusions 85
  • References 87
  • IV - Income, Wealth, and Style of Life 91
  • Conclusions 119
  • References 122
  • V - The Web of Interaction 127
  • Conclusions 153
  • References 154
  • VI - Class Consciousness and Political Ideology 157
  • Conclusions 180
  • References 181
  • VII - Classes as Ideal Types: Emergent Values 184
  • Conclusions 215
  • References 218
  • VIII - Ethnic and Race Barriers 221
  • Conclusions 247
  • References 248
  • IX - Succession and Mobility: the Occupational Base 251
  • Conclusions 271
  • References 272
  • X - Succession and Mobility: Motivation and Education 276
  • Conclusions 293
  • References 294
  • Index 301
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