Class Lives is an anthology of narratives dramatizing the lived experience of class in America. It includes forty original essays from authors who represent a range of classes, genders, races, ethnicities, ages, and occupations across the United States. Born into poverty, working class, the middle class, and the owning class-and every place in between-the contributors describe their class journeys in narrative form, recounting one or two key stories that illustrate their growing awareness of class and their place, changing or stable, within the class system.The stories in Class Lives are both gripping and moving. One contributor grows up in hunger and as an adult becomes an advocate for the poor and homeless. Another acknowledges the truth that her working-class father's achievements afforded her and the rest of the family access to people with power. A gifted child from a working-class home soon understands that intelligence is a commodity but finds his background incompatible with his aspirations and so attempts to divide his life into separate worlds.Together, these essays form a powerful narrative about the experience of class and the importance of learning about classism, class cultures, and the intersections of class, race, and gender. Class Lives will be a helpful resource for students, teachers, sociologists, diversity trainers, activists, and a general audience. It will leave readers with an appreciation of the poignancy and power of class and the journeys that Americans grapple with on a daily basis.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 369 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
"Among the many things that shape our movements, the class identities of principal players are among the least examined. In this insightful book, dozens of authors share heartfelt stories of their struggles with and consciousness around class. Class Lives takes class from a social taboo and brings it to life."-- Rinku Sen, President of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation and Publisher of Colorlines
"It does a good job of highlighting the implicit class biases and prejudices that often infect progressive movements and institutionslimiting their popular appeal and undercutting their stated commitment to inclusion and diversity. The book's compassionate and inclusive ethos, and its detailed consideration of complex ways that class inflects the whole spectrum of identity and everyday experience, offers a welcome respite from the sanctimonious hothouse of much contemporary liberal identity politics."-- Dennis Soron * Labour/Le Travail *
"Class Lives addresses the forbidden subject on the U.S. landscape: class. But it does so through the narratives of a spectrum of writers who examine-indeed, interrogate-their own experiences in order to make sense of their backgrounds, their challenges, their successes, and their worldviews. This deeply personal collection takes issues of class and class struggle off the shelf of both academia and social struggle and situates them in the context of living the real contradictions of the real USA. I was drawn into this volume from the very opening pages."-- Bill Fletcher, Jr., author of "They're Bankrupting Us"-and Twenty Other Myths about Unions
"In a sad world where our class origins matter more and more, it is useful to have these candid stories about exactly how they matter, from thoughtful people who have devoted their lives to combating injustice."-- James M. Jasper, author of Protest: A Cultural Introduction to Social Movements
"The stories in Class Lives all engage the reader at a directly personal level that both stimulates and guides self-reflection on the role of class and the awareness of class in one's own life. The overall class framework-poor, working class, middle class, and owning class-is intuitively compelling in itself, and the individual essays bring that framework to life in a way that is even more compelling and memorable."-- Jack Metzgar, Roosevelt University, author of Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered
"Too often, 'class' is viewed as a concept without meaning or impact. Class Lives demonstrates through powerful stories how we are all impacted by the challenges (for the poor) and opportunities (for the rich) imposed on us by class. Pushing against class barriers is critical for those who care about justice and fairness. This book will help us all."-- Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice
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