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This book challenges the widely held American belief in meritocracy_that people get out of the system what they put into it based on individual merit. The book first reviews each of the four components of merit—being talented, having the right attitude, working hard, and having high moral character_in terms of its impact on getting ahead. The book then identifies various non-merit factors that suppress, neutralize, or negate the effects of merit. These non-merit factors include the effects of inheritance as unequal starting points in the race to get ahead, the effects of who you know (social capital) and 'fitting in' (cultural capital), being at the right place at the right time (luck), unequal access to educational opportunities, decline in rates of self-employment and the prospects of being a 'self-made' person, and discrimination on the bases of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical disability, region, religion, and physical appearance. To more closely approximate a true meritocracy, societal-level reforms would be necessary. In the meantime, the myth of meritocracy is itself harmful because it unfairly exalts the rich and unfairly condemns poor.
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Stephen J. McNamee is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Robert K. Miller, Jr. is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
This well-written and researched book on a neglected topic is a must-read. Essential. (CHOICE)
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Book Description Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0742510565
Book Description Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110742510565
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0742510565
Book Description Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0742510565n