Email questions to

PUBLICATIONS > Working Papers > Working Paper: How Class Works in Popular Conception

Working Paper: How Class Works in Popular Conception
Americans’ answers to questions about their social class show (1) awareness that class is an important aspect of American life and (2) reasonable patterns of strong association between subjective class identification and objective criteria like income, occupation, and education. Multivariate analysis of those responses shows that (3) class ambivalence and ambiguity is an issue for Americans whose jobs and incomes are inconsistent with their educations but (4) little evidence that other identities compete with objective class in forming class identities and (5) none of the trends that postclass theories suggest. Finally, subjective class identification correlates with a number of political attitudes and lifestyle indicators in ways that are consistent with canonical ideas about how class works.

This is a revision a paper presented at the conference “Social Class: How Does It Work?” held at New York University, 21-22 April 2006, sponsored by New York University and the Russell Sage Foundation. Thanks to Neil Fligstein, Michele Lamont, Annette Lareau, Jeff Manza, Erik Olin Wright, and two anonymous referees for their comments. Neither funders nor colleagues are responsible for the conclusions, opinions, or errors in this final version.

Publication file


related projects

USA: A Century of Difference-A Russell Sage 2000 Census Project

related publications

Russell Sage Foundation, Publication: Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years
Appendix to Century of Difference: Supplementary Material A for Figure 4.2 Chapter 4
Appendix to Century of Difference: Supplementary Material B for Figure 4.2 Chapter 4
Appendix to Century of Difference: Supplementary Figure for Chapter 5
Appendix to Century of Difference: Appendices to Chapter 7
Demography, February 2004 Article: Distinguishing the Geographic Levels and Social Dimensions of U.S. Metropolitan Segregation, 1960-2000
Appendices to Demography, February 2004 Article: Data and Methodology
American Sociological Review, April 2002, Report: Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Politics and Generations.
Working Paper: Different Places, Different People: The Redrawing of America's Social Geography
Working Paper: What Americans Had: Differences in Standards of Living
Working Paper: Religious Diversity in America, 1940-2000
Working Paper: Maximally Maintained Inequality Revisited: Irish Educational Mobility In Comparative Perspective
Working Paper: American Households Throughout the 20th Century
Working Paper: Money and Morale: What Growing Inequality is Doing to Americans' View of Themselves and Others
Working Paper: The Overworked American Family: Trends and Nontrends in Working Hours: 1968-2001
Working Paper: Tightening Up: Social Mobility in Russia, 1988-2000
Working Paper: Educational Progress for African Americans and Latinos in the United States from the 1950s to the 1990s: The Interaction of Ancestry and Class
Working Paper: Education: Relative and Absolute Measures
Working Paper: Time Bind and God's Time
Working Paper: Ever-More Rooted Americans
2008/12/18 15:02:44