Over a period of six years, at factory and warehouse, at the tavern across the road, in their homes and union meetings, on fishing trips and social outings, David Halle talked and listened to workers of an automated chemical plant in New Jersey's industrial heartland. He has emerged with an unusually comprehensive and convincingly realistic picture of blue-collar life in America. Throughout the book, Halle illustrates his analysis with excerpts of workers' views on everything from strikes, class consciousness, politics, job security, and toxic chemicals to marriage, betting on horses, God, home-ownership, drinking, adultery, the Super Bowl, and life after death. Halle challenges the stereotypes of the blue-collar mentality and argues that to understand American class consciousness we must shift our focus from the "working class" to be the "working man."
The Ancient Middle Classes
Emanuel Mayer Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DG78.M42 2012 | Dewey Decimal 305.550937
Our image of the Roman world is shaped by the writings of upper-class intellectuals. Yet most of the material evidence we have—art, architecture, household artifacts—belonged to artisans, merchants, and professionals. Roman culture as we have seen it with our own eyes is distinctly middle-class and requires a radically new framework of analysis.
Presenting prehistoric, historic, and ethnographic data from Mongolia, China, Iceland, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States, The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness offers a first step toward examining class as a central issue within anthropology. Contributors to this volume use the methods of historical materialism, cultural ecology, and political ecology to understand the realities of class and how they evolve.
Five central ideas unify the collection: the objective basis for class in different social orders; people's understanding of class in relation to race and gender; the relation of ideologies of class to realities of class; the U.S. managerial middle-class denial of class and emphasis on meritocracy in relation to increasing economic insecurity; and personal responses to economic insecurity and their political implications.
Anthropologists who want to understand the nature and dynamics of culture must also understand the nature and dynamics of class. The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness addresses the role of the concept of class as an analytical construct in anthropology and how it relates to culture. Although issues of social hierarchy have been studied in anthropology, class has not often been considered as a central element. Yet a better understanding of its role in shaping culture, consciousness, and people's awareness of their social and natural world would in turn lead to better understanding of major trends in social evolution as well as contemporary society. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, labor studies, ethnohistory, and sociology.