American Beliefs About Distributive Justice
By (author) Jennifer L. Hochschild
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What's Fair? by Jennifer L. Hochschild
Book DescriptionThe search for equality has been an enduring one in the United States. Yet there has been little significant change in the distribution of wealth over the generations, while the political ideology of socialism has been rejected outright by most people. In a sensitive rendering of data, Jennifer Hochschild discovers that it is the nonrich themselves who do not support the downward redistribution of wealth.Using a long questionnaire and in-depth interviews, she examines the ideals and contemporary practices of Americans on the subject of distributive justice. She finds that both rich and poor Americans perceive three realms in their lives: the private, the political, and the economic. People tend to support equality in two of the realms: the private, where fundamental socialization takes place in the family, school, and neighborhood, and the political, where issues arise about taxes, private property, rights, political representation, social welfare policies, and visions of utopia. But in the economic realm of the workplace, class structure, and opportunity, Americans favor maintaining material differences among people.Hochschild shows how divergence between ideals and practices, and especially between Americans' views of political and economic justice, produces ambivalence. Issues involving redistribution of wealth force people to think about whether they prefer political equalization or economic differentiation. Uncertain, Americans sometimes support equality, sometimes inequality, sometimes are torn between these two beliefs. As a result, they are often tense, helpless, or angry.It is not often that Americans are allowed to talk so candidly and within rigorous social science sampling about their lives. Hochschild gives us a new combination of oral history and political theory that political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, and policymakers can read with profit and pleasure.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674950870
(235mm x 152mm x 23mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-1990
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author 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, 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.
Facing Up to the American Dream, Paperback (August 1996)View all books by Jennifer L. Hochschild
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. This book talks about America's racial conflicts, and claims that the alternative lies in the inclusiveness, optimism, discipline, and high-mindedness of the American dream at its best.
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Author Biography - Jennifer L. Hochschild
Jennifer Hochschild is Assistant Professor of Politics at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.
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