Money, Morals, and Manners The Culture of the French and the American Upper-Middle Class
by Michèle Lamont
University of Chicago Press, 1992
Cloth: 978-0-226-46815-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-46817-4 | Electronic: 978-0-226-92259-1
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226922591.001.0001


Drawing on remarkably frank, in-depth interviews with 160 successful men in the United States and France, Michèle Lamont provides a rare and revealing collective portrait of the upper-middle class—the managers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and experts at the center of power in society. Her book is a subtle, textured description of how these men define the values and attitudes they consider essential in separating themselves—and their class—from everyone else.

Money, Morals, and Manners is an ambitious and sophisticated attempt to illuminate the nature of social class in modern society. For all those who downplay the importance of unequal social groups, it will be a revelation.

"A powerful, cogent study that will provide an elevated basis for debates in the sociology of culture for years to come."—David Gartman, American Journal of Sociology

"A major accomplishment! Combining cultural analysis and comparative approach with a splendid literary style, this book significantly broadens the understanding of stratification and inequality. . . . This book will provoke debate, inspire research, and serve as a model for many years to come."—R. Granfield, Choice

"This is an exceptionally fine piece of work, a splendid example of the sociologist's craft."—Lewis Coser, Boston College


Tables and Maps


Note to the Reader

Prologue. Sketching the Landscape: Some Illustrative Vignettes

Chapter One. The Questions and the Stage

Chapter Two. The Importance of Being Honest: Keys to Moral Boundaries

Chapter Three. The World of Success, Money, and Power: Keys to Socioeconomic Boundaries

Chapter Four. Most of My Friends are Refined: Keys to Cultural Boundaries

Chapter Five. Explaining National Differences

Chapter Six. The Nature of Internal Class Boundaries

Chapter Seven. Implications, Contributions, and Unanswered Questions

Appendix I. Surveying the French and American Upper-Middle Classes

Appendix II. The Research Sites

Appendix III. Research Procedures

Appendix IV. Rankings of Respondents on the Cultural, Moral, and Socioeconomic Dimensions