Growing up Working Class: Hidden Injuries and the Development of Angry White Men and Women

NEW YORK, NY, November 15, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — What can account for the white, working-class’ anger and lashing out at established institutions in this country over time? This “anger and lashing out” caught the media’s attention during the 2016 Presidential Election, and has recently been studied to various degrees by a few sociologists. That anger and lashing out has boiled over and become violent over the last few weeks, and at other recent times and places.

Mainstream analyses of these events quite often point to the mental health of the individual perpetrator. But, as C. Wright Mills pointed out, individual attitudes and behavior are embedded in larger social issues. One does not become bitter, angry and a hater overnight—it can take a lifetime of events. These events, I argue, are connected to what Sennett and Cobb referred to as the hidden injuries of class. I experienced many of these “injuries” while growing up in a working-class neighborhood and relate to these issues through both personal and scholarly lenses.

My new book, Growing up Working Class: Hidden Injuries and the Development of Angry White Men and Women (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017), is an ethnography/auto-ethnography of my youth, embedded in sociological concepts and theories. Along with some of my own research on the working class, voices from social media, and data from Social Explorer about a particular time and place—a neighborhood in New York City on the Brooklyn-Queens border in the 1960s—my book provides a window into the development of the type of attitudes and behavior that can lead to so much of the anger and hate we hear and see today.


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