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Facing Up to the American Dream By Jennifer L. Hochschild

Facing Up to the American Dream by Jennifer L. Hochschild

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Summary

This text argues that the "American dream" is in danger of vanishing in the face of racial conflict and discontent. It examines the ways in which white and African Americans view their own and each others opportunities and compares their hopes and fears.

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Facing Up to the American Dream Summary

Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation 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 argues that Americans have failed to face up to what that dream requires of their society, and yet they possess no other central belief that can save the United States from chaos. This text attributes America's national distress to the ways in which white 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 anecdote to clarify several paradoxes. Since the 1960's 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

Facing Up to the American Dream Reviews

Jennifer Hochschild bravely tries to disassemble the central elements that are bound up in that vague but still politically and ideologically potent thing, 'the American dream.' ... She wants to iron out the defects of the dream rather than to overturn it, and she feels the good health of our society depends not only on belief in the American dream but on its realization, and in particular on repairing its central failure, which is the inability of some many black Americans to participate in what it promises... [T]here is a division between the way American blacks and American whites see our great racial problem, and it is very unsettling that this division is so great... -- Nathan Glazer The New Republic Drawing on a rich lode of polling data, policy studies and popular journalism, Hochschild probes the essential questions suggested by this book's title... Without new politics to alleviate race and class injustice, she warns, we face abandonment of the dream, perhaps leading to a formalization of American hierarchy and a separatist black nationalism. Publishers Weekly At the center of U.S. ideology rests the promise that all Americans have a reasonable chance at success, however defined; Hochschild demonstrates how that promise now faces severe challenge from real and perceived barriers of race and class... Overall, she shows that shared disaffections and hardening black and white views of each other threaten to rend the nation's social fabric. Her work demands thoughtful reading and earnest discussion. Library Journal A major study of current public opinion that offers some grounds for hoping that racial equality and harmony can be achieved on the basis of a shared commitment to a set of traditional American values. -- George M. Fredrickson The New York Review of Books An analysis that is tragic, and deeply revealing. -- David Chappell In These Times Hochschild looks at [the American dream] in regard to race and worries, as a result of her findings, that [it] is in trouble... But if the American dream is in trouble, Hochschild sees no real alternative to it as a motivating national belief. Bettina Drew, Chicago Tribune ... Provides a clearer understanding of the racial and class problems that help fragment the U.S. Choice Hochschild examines questions of equality and opportunity through the lens of the American dream [giving us] a clearer understanding of the rage that even many successful blacks feel. -- Ellen K. Coughlin The Chronicle of Higher Education Hochschild looks at [the American dream] in regard to race and worries, as a result of her findings, that [it] is in trouble... But if the American dream is in trouble, Hochschild sees no real alternative to it as a motivating national belief. -- Bettina Drew Chicago Tribune [This] work demands thoughtful reading and earnest discussion. Library Journal

About Jennifer L. Hochschild

Jennifer L. Hochschild is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Among her other works are The New American Dilemma: Liberal Democracy and School Desegregation and What's Fair?: American Beliefs about Distributive Justice.

Table of Contents

Tables and Figure Ch. 1 What Is the American Dream? Ch. 2 Rich and Poor African Americans Ch. 3 "What's All the Fuss About?": Blacks' and Whites' Beliefs about the American Dream Ch. 4 "Succeeding More" and "Under the Spell": Affluent and Poor Blacks' Beliefs about the American Dream Ch. 5 Beliefs about One's Own Life Ch. 6 Beliefs about Others Ch. 7 Competitive Success and Collective Well being Ch. 8 Remaining under the Spell Ch. 9 With One Part of Themselves They Actually Believe Ch. 10 Distorting the Dream Ch. 11 Breaking the Spell Ch. 12 The Perversity of Race and the Fluidity of Values Ch. 13 Comparing Blacks and White Immigrants Ch. 14 The Future of the American Dream Appendix A Surveys Used for Unpublished Tabulations Appendix B Supplemental Tables Notes Works Cited Index

Additional information

CIN000239283
9780691029573
0691029571
Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation by Jennifer L. Hochschild
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Princeton University Press
1995-09-10
415
Winner of Association of American Publishers/Professional and Scholarly Publishing: Sociology and Anthropology 1996
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

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