Facing Up to the American Dream by Jennifer L. Hochschild
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Facing Up to the American Dream
By Jennifer L. Hochschild

Facing Up to the American Dream

Race, Class and the Soul of the Nation

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Format: Paperback

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Facing Up to the American Dream by Jennifer L. Hochschild

Book Awards

  • Winner of David Easton Prize 2000.
  • Winner of Association of American Publishers/Professional and Scholarly Publishing: Sociology and Anthropology 1996.

Book Description

The ideology of the American dream--the faith that an individual can attain success and virtue through strenuous effort--is the very soul of the American nation. According to Jennifer Hochschild, we have failed to face up to what that dream requires of our society, and yet we possess no other central belief that can save the United States from chaos. In this compassionate but frightening book, Hochschild attributes our national distress to the ways in which whites and African Americans have come to view their own and each other's opportunities. By examining the hopes and fears of whites and especially of blacks of various social classes, Hochschild demonstrates that America's only unifying vision may soon vanish in the face of racial conflict and discontent. Hochschild combines survey data and vivid anecdote to clarify several paradoxes. Since the 1960s white Americans have seen African Americans as having better and better chances to achieve the dream. At the same time middle-class blacks, by now one-third of the African American population, have become increasingly frustrated personally and anxious about the progress of their race. Most poor blacks, however, cling with astonishing strength to the notion that they and their families can succeed--despite their terrible, perhaps worsening, living conditions. Meanwhile, a tiny number of the estranged poor, who have completely given up on the American dream or any other faith, threaten the social fabric of the black community and the very lives of their fellow blacks. Hochschild probes these patterns and gives them historical depth by comparing the experience of today's African Americans to that of white ethnic immigrants at the turn of the century. She concludes by claiming that America's only alternative to the social disaster of intensified racial conflict lies in the inclusiveness, optimism, discipline, and high-mindedness of the American dream at its best.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691029207
ISBN-10: 0691029202
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 27mm)
Pages: 440
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 5-Aug-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Jennifer L. Hochschild

Creating a New Racial Order by Jennifer L. Hochschild Creating a New Racial Order, Paperback (March 2014)

The American racial order - the beliefs, institutions, and practices that organize relationships among the nation's races and ethnicities - is undergoing its greatest transformation since the 1960s. This book looks at the reasons behind this dramatic change, and considers how different groups of Americans are being affected.

Bringing Outsiders in by Jennifer L. Hochschild Bringing Outsiders in, Paperback (May 2009)

Leading social scientists present individual cases and work toward a comparative synthesis of how immigrants affect-and are affected by-civic life on both sides of the Atlantic.

» View all books by Jennifer L. Hochschild


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