An Archaeology of African America and Consumer Culture
Author: Paul R. Mullins
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Category: Social Science
An archaeological analysis of the centrality of race and racism in American culture. Using a broad range of material, historical, and ethnographic resources from Annapolis, Maryland, during the period 1850 to 1930, the author probes distinctive African-American consumption patterns and examines how those patterns resisted the racist assumptions of the dominant culture while also attempting to demonstrate African-Americans' suitability to full citizenship privileges.
Providing a compact literary history of the twentieth century in England, Cities of Affluence and Anger studies the problematic terms of national identity during England's transition from an imperial power to its integration in the global cultural marketplace. While the countryside had been the dominant symbol of Englishness throughout the previous century, modern literature began to turn more and more to the city to redraw the boundaries of a contemporary cultural polity. The urban class system, paradoxically, still functioned as a marker of wealth, status, and hierarchy throughout this long period of self-examination, but it also became a way to project a common culture and mitigate other forms of difference. Local class politics were transformed in such a way that enabled the English to reframe a highly provisional national unity in the context of imperial disintegration, postcolonial immigration, and, later, globalization.Kalliney plots the decline of the country-house novel through an analysis of Forster’s Howards End and Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, each ruthless in its sabotage of the trope of bucolic harmony. The traditionally pastoral focus of English fiction gives way to a high-modernist urban narrative, exemplified by Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and, later, to realists such as Osborne and Sillitoe, through whose work Kalliney explores postwar urban expansion and the cultural politics of the welfare state. Offering fresh new readings of Lessing’s The Golden Notebook and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, the author considers the postwar appropriation of domesticity, the emergence of postcolonial literature, and the renovation of travel narratives in the context of globalization. Kalliney suggests that it is largely one city--London--through which national identity has been reframed. How and why this transition came about is a process that Cities of Affluence and Anger depicts with exceptional insight and originality.
This book explores the changing spatial distribution of the United States of America's poorest and most affluent counties over the 30 years from 1980 to 2010. While overall rates of poverty have changed somewhat during this period, the geography of counties where affluence and poverty rates are the highest have also shifted as economic fortunes wax and wane. The spatial understanding of poverty and affluence is an important dimension of addressing the complex economic and social contexts within which poverty occurs, and which vary substantially depending on several factors. While there has been significant focus on poverty in the United States, including some analysis of its spatial characteristics, since the 1960s there has been relatively little research on the concomitant geography of affluence. The geographies of poverty and affluence analyzed in this book give a view of spatial economic segregation. Spatial aspects of both the poorest and most affluent counties are focused on, as well as the changing gap and relative geographies between rich and poor over three decades.
Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America
Author: Tim Wise
Publisher: City Lights Publishers
Category: Social Science
"Tim Wise is one of the great public moralists in America today. In his bracing new book, Under the Affluence, he brilliantly engages the roots and ramifications of radical inequality in our nation, carefully detailing the heartless war against the poor and the swooning addiction to the rich that exposes the moral sickness at the heart of our culture. Wise's stirring analysis of our predicament is more than a disinterested social scientific treatise; this book is a valiant call to arms against the vicious practices that undermine the best of the American ideals we claim to cherish. Under the Affluence is vintage Tim Wise: smart, sophisticated, conscientious, and righteously indignant at the betrayal of millions of citizens upon whose backs the American Dream rests. This searing testimony for the most vulnerable in our nation is also a courageous cry for justice that we must all heed."—Michael Eric Dyson, author of The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America Tim Wise is one of America's most prolific public intellectuals. His critically acclaimed books, high-profile media interviews, and year-round speaking schedule have established him as an invaluable voice in any discussion on issues of race and multicultural democracy. In Under the Affluence, Wise discusses a related issue: economic inequality and the demonization of those in need. He reminds us that there was a time when the hardship of fellow Americans stirred feelings of sympathy, solidarity for struggling families, and support for policies and programs meant to alleviate poverty. Today, however, mainstream discourse blames people with low income for their own situation, and the notion of an intractable "culture of poverty" has pushed our country in an especially ugly direction. Tim Wise argues that far from any culture of poverty, it is the culture of predatory affluence that deserves the blame for America's simmering economic and social crises. He documents the increasing contempt for the nation's poor, and reveals the forces at work to create and perpetuate it. With clarity, passion and eloquence, he demonstrates how America's myth of personal entitlement based on merit is inextricably linked to pernicious racial bigotry, and he points the way to greater compassion, fairness, and economic justice. Tim Wise is the author of many books, including Dear White America and Colorblind.
John Ogbu has studied minority education from a comparative perspective for over 30 years. The study reported in this book--jointly sponsored by the community and the school district in Shaker Heights, Ohio--focuses on the academic performance of Black American students. Not only do these students perform less well than White students at every social class level, but also less well than immigrant minority students, including Black immigrant students. Furthermore, both middle-class Black students in suburban school districts, as well as poor Black students in inner-city schools are not doing well. Ogbu's analysis draws on data from observations, formal and informal interviews, and statistical and other data. He offers strong empirical evidence to support the cross-class existence of the problem. The book is organized in four parts: *Part I provides a description of the twin problems the study addresses--the gap between Black and White students in school performance and the low academic engagement of Black students; a review of conventional explanations; an alternative perspective; and the framework for the study. *Part II is an analysis of societal and school factors contributing to the problem, including race relations, Pygmalion or internalized White beliefs and expectations, levelling or tracking, the roles of teachers, counselors, and discipline. *Community factors--the focus of this study--are discussed in Part III. These include the educational impact of opportunity structure, collective identity, cultural and language or dialect frame of reference in schooling, peer pressures, and the role of the family. This research focus does not mean exonerating the system and blaming minorities, nor does it mean neglecting school and society factors. Rather, Ogbu argues, the role of community forces should be incorporated into the discussion of the academic achievement gap by researchers, theoreticians, policymakers, educators, and minorities themselves who genuinely want to improve the academic achievement of African American children and other minorities. *In Part IV, Ogbu presents a summary of the study's findings on community forces and offers recommendations--some of which are for the school system and some for the Black community. Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement is an important book for a wide range of researchers, professionals, and students, particularly in the areas of Black education, minority education, comparative and international education, sociology of education, educational anthropology, educational policy, teacher education, and applied anthropology.
Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain Since 1950
Author: Avner Offer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Business & Economics
Since the 1940s Americans and Britons have experienced rising material abundance, but also a range of social and personal disorders, including family breakdown, addiction, crime, obesity, inequality, and economic insecurity. Avner Offer argues that well-being in these societies has lagged behind affluence, because they present an environment in which consistent choice is difficult to achieve over time and in which the capacity for personal and social commitment is undermined by the flow of novelty. This is then demonstrated in comparative studies of US and British market consumption (advertising, obesity, appliances and automobiles), and of personal relations (inter-personal regard, social status, heterosexual love, and parenthood). Drawing on the latest cognitive research, Offer provides a detailed and reasoned critique of modern consumer society, especially the assumption that freedom of choice necessarily maximizes individual and social well-being.