The Meritocracy Myth

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9780742510562: The Meritocracy Myth
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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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About the Author:

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.

Review:

This well-written and researched book on a neglected topic is a must-read. Essential. (CHOICE)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780742561687: The Meritocracy Myth

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ISBN 10:  0742561682 ISBN 13:  9780742561687
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009
Softcover

9780742561670: The Meritocracy Myth

Rowman..., 2009
Hardcover

9780742510555: The Meritocracy Myth

Rowman..., 2004
Hardcover

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