Social Contracts under Stress: The Middle Classes of America, Europe, and Japan at the Turn of the Century

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Editorial Reviews

Analysts from seven countries trace the rise of their middle-classes, and consider how this class will fare given such challenges as globalization, inflation, and changing gender and family models. Referring to British philosopher R.G. Collingwood's postwar ideal of a social contract combining liberty and equality, Zunz (history, U. of Virginia) introduces current system stressors. In 16 papers, contributors analyze diverse paths to middle-class formation; friction between constituencies (e.g., the US middle-class racial divide); and effects of vanishing international borders on social contracts. Includes a statistical appendix on income inequality. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871549976
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Pages: 431
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Social Contracts Under Stress 1
Pt. I National Paths to Middle-Class Formation
1 From Divergence to Convergence: The Divided German Middle Class, 1945 to 2000 21
2 Individuality and Class: The Rise and Fall of the Gentlemanly Social Contract in Britain 47
3 The Middle Classes in France: Social and Political Functions of Semantic Pluralism from 1870 to 2000 66
4 Could Postwar France Become a Middle-class Society? 89
5 The Short Happy Life of the Japanese Middle Class 108
6 Inflation: "The Permanent Dilemma" of the American Middle Classes 130
Pt. II Constituencies in Conflict
7 Public Policy and the Middle-class Racial Divide After the Second World War 157
8 The American Middle Class and the Politics of Education 178
9 Changing Gender and Family Models: Their Impact on the Social Contract in European Welfare States 204
10 At the Limits of New Middle-class Japan: Beyond "Mainstream Consciousness" 232
11 Twelve Million Full-time Housewives: The Gender Consequences of Japan's Postwar Social Contract 255
Pt. III Vanishing Borders and the Social Contract
12 Disinflationary Adjustment: The Link Between Economic Globalization and Challenges to Postwar Social Contracts 281
13 Globalization and the Squeeze on the Middle Class: Does Any Version of the Postwar Social Contract Meet the Challenge? 319
14 Europeanization of Social Policy: A Reopening of the Social Contract? 345
15 Europe from Division to Reunification: The Eastern European Middle Classes During and After Socialism 362
16 Upsetting Models: An Italian Tale of the Middle Classes 379
Statistical Appendix: Income Inequality in Seven Nations-France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States 401
Selected Bibliography 411
Index 421
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