The Meritocracy Myth

The Meritocracy Myth

by Stephen J. McNamee

Paperback(Fourth Edition)

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The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee

The Meritocracy Myth 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 examines talent, attitude, work ethic, and character as elements of merit and evaluates the effect of nonmerit factors such as family background, social connections, luck, market conditions, unequal educational opportunities, and discrimination.

The fourth edition has been revised and streamlined throughout. It features new material on the current economic and political climate; the reasons behind the increasing levels of inequality in the United States and globally; how economic, social, and cultural factors shaped Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence, and more. The fourth edition includes a new chapter on marriage and mobility that examines how patterns in marriage tend to increase the concentration of wealth and pass on nonmerit advantages to children, furthering trends toward social inequality.

A compelling book on an often-overlooked topic, The Meritocracy Myth is ideal for introducing students to this provocative topic while sparking discussion and reflection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538103401
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 03/15/2018
Edition description: Fourth Edition
Pages: 254
Sales rank: 665,127
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stephen J. McNamee is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He wrote previous editions of The Meritocracy Myth with Robert K. Miller, Jr. (1949–2015), who was also a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Table of Contents

1 The American Dream: Origins and Prospects
2 On Being Made of the Right Stuff: The Case for Merit
3 The Silver Spoon: Inheritance and the Staggered Start
4 It’s Not What You Know But . . .: Social and Cultural Capital
5 Making the Grade: Education and Mobility
6 I Did It My Way: The Decline of Self-Employment and the Ascent of Corporations
7 The Luck Factor: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time:
8 Mobility Through Marriage: The Cinderella Effect
9 An Unlevel Playing Field: Racism, Sexism, and Other Isms
10 Growing Inequality in the Twenty-First Century: What Can Be Done?

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