The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream?

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9781442205277: The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream?

The New Class Society introduces students to the sociology of class structure and inequalities as it asks whether or not the American dream has faded. The fourth edition of this powerful book demonstrates how and why class inequalities in the United States have been widened, hardened, and become more entrenched than ever.

The fourth edition has been extensively revised and reorganized throughout, including a new introduction that offers an overview of key themes and shorter chapters that cover a wider range of topics. New material for the fourth edition includes a discussion of "The Great Recession" and its ongoing impact, the demise of the middle class, rising costs of college and increasing student debt, the role of electronic media in shaping people's perceptions of class, and more.

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About the Author:

Earl Wysong is professor of sociology at Indiana University Kokomo. He is a past president of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences and author of High Risk and High Stakes.

Robert Perrucci is professor of sociology at Purdue University, a past president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and former editor of the American Sociologist, Social Problems, and Contemporary Sociology.

David Wright is professor of sociology at Wichita State University, where he is also associate provost for academic data systems and strategic planning.

Review:

In this 4th edition of a seminal work, Wysong (Indiana Univ.-Kokomo), Perrucci (Purdue), and Wright (Wichita State Univ.) update their previous assertions regarding the loss of the middle class and the American dream. In the wake of the recent recession, banking and industry bailouts, the Occupy movement, and similar influences, the underlying message of the previous editions is even more salient. This volume represents an updated version of what came before, expounding on the 'double diamond' model of US society. Supporting their assertions with new and diverse evidence, the authors support this model as a departure from past constructs of society that more resemble a layered wedding cake, for example. Recent years have been replete with evidence of the theory represented by this double diamond model. Therefore, since this volume represents the most current permutation and presentation of the growing chasm in US society, it remains an exceptionally important book. The developments of recent years have done nothing to weaken the core of the theory, but rather have provided substantial and nuanced support. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-level undergraduate and graduate collections related to stratification. (CHOICE)

This text is both an introduction to class structures in the US and an analysis of their evolution and entrenchment. The authors, American sociology professors, argue that over the last 40 years dramatic class inequalities have re-emerged even deeper than before. They take a pluralistic approach to defining and studying class, favoring socioeconomic and not just productive interpretations. Their new class system is defined by a privileged upper-class and a highly stratified new working-class. They consider the influence of globalization, how the middle-class died, class war, money in politics, the information industry, the role of education in creating new forms of privilege, class-biased policy planning, the "pacification of everyday life" and then the role of the culture industry, and class in the 21st century. New material in this edition includes up to date data on The Great Recession, student debt crisis, and electronic media's influence on people's perception of class. (Book News, Inc.)

A sense of history infuses this new edition of The New Class Society, and that may be why the book makes for such an effective guidebook to how economic classes in the United States segment and interrelate — in an increasingly unequal nation. The authors—veteran sociologists from Indiana University, Purdue, and Wichita State—offer a new structural take on America’s class structure. Their ‘double diamond’ places the ‘1 percent’ in a detailed perspective that carefully subdivides America’s “privileged” and ‘new working class.’ Educators across the country have been using earlier editions of The New Class Society for over a dozen years. This fourth edition deserves a wider audience. (Too Much)

The New Class Society fourth edition offers an original, well-researched, and highly revealing analysis of the American class structure. This book is essential reading for those interested in the problem of rising inequality, but more broadly it is an invaluable resource for anyone concerned about the current and future state of the American Dream. (Edward Royce, Rollins College)

A thoughtful, very up-to-date, radical interpretation of the changing American class system. (Dennis Gilbert, Hamilton College; author of The American Class Structure)

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