The New Middle Classes: Social, Psychological, and Political Issues

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In America's much-touted classless society, the middle class—decried by some as a mythical construct and heralded by others as the embodiment of the American dream—has always occupied a central and controversial position. This book explores the origins of the new middle classes that emerged in the 20th century, revealing the relationship of these classes to capitalism, bureaucracy, and politics. The book is divided into four parts, addressing: the theoretical problems and historical changes brought on by the emergence of the new middle classes; status and the psychology of class; the middle class in America; and the lifestyles and political orientations of the middle classes in the United States.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814787779
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Series: Main Trends of the Modern World Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur J. Vidich is Senior Lecturer and Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of Small Town in Mass Society; Class, Politics and Religion in a Plural Community and numerous other books. He is senior editor and founder of the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.

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Table of Contents

Series Preface
Introduction 1
1 The Discovery of the New Middle Classes 15
2 The New Middle Class 55
3 Middle-Class Notions and Lower-Class Theory 87
4 The Growth of the New Middle Class 103
5 The Status Sphere 133
6 The Foundations of Social Rank and Respect 144
7 Bureaucracy and Masked Class Membership 151
8 Economic Class, Status and Personality 161
9 The New Middle Class, I 189
10 The New Middle Class, II 203
11 The Transformation of the Black Middle Class 215
12 Changes in the Life-Styles of American Classes 238
13 The New Class System and its Life-Styles 261
14 Liberalism and the New Middle Classes 281
15 The New Conservatism: Political Ideology and Class Structure in America 300
16 The Politics of the Middle Class in a National Crisis: The Case of Watergate 335
17 Class and Politics in an Epoch of Declining Abundance 364
Acknowledgements 387
Notes on the Contributors 389
Index 391
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