Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs (Provocations Series)
Author: James Bloodworth
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
Category: Political Science
The best jobs in Britain today are overwhelmingly done by the children of the wealthy. Meanwhile, it is increasingly difficult for bright but poor kids to transcend their circumstances. This state of affairs should not only worry the less well-off. It hurts the middle classes too, who are increasingly locked out of the top professions by those from affluent backgrounds. Hitherto, Labour and Conservative politicians alike have sought to deal with the problem by promoting the idea of 'equality of opportunity'. In politics, social mobility is the only game in town, and old socialist arguments emphasising economic equality are about as fashionable today as mullets and shell suits. Yet genuine equality of opportunity is impossible alongside levels of inequality last seen during the 1930s. In a grossly unequal society, the privileges of the parents unfailingly become the privileges of the children. A vague commitment from our politicians to build a 'meritocracy' is not enough. Nor is it desirable: a perfectly stratified meritocracy, in which everyone knew their station based on 'merit', would be a deeply unpleasant place to live. Any genuine attempt to improve social mobility must start by reducing the gap between rich and poor. PROVOCATIONS is a groundbreaking new series of short polemics composed by some of the most intriguing voices in contemporary culture and edited by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Sharp, intelligent and controversial, Provocations provides insightful contributions to the most vital discussions in society today.
From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, a compelling book that explains why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in their success, why that hurts everyone, and what we can do about it How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy. Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones—and enormous income differences—over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways. But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps. Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.
The Meritocracy Myth challenges the widely held American belief in meritocracy—that people get out of the system what they put into it based on individual merit. The third edition has been revised and streamlined, with fresh examples and updated statistical information throughout. Chapters eight and nine have been combined into a comprehensive chapter about discrimination as a non-merit barrier to upward mobility. The book also features a new section on “The Great Recession.” The Meritocracy Myth examines talent, attitude, work ethic, and character as elements of merit, and evaluates the effect of non-merit factors such as social status, race, heritage, and wealth on meritocracy. A compelling book on an often-overlooked topic, The Meritocracy Myth has become a classroom classic to introduce students to this provocative topic.
Meritocracy today involves the idea that whatever your social position at birth, society ought to offer enough opportunity and mobility for ‘talent’ to combine with ‘effort’ in order to ‘rise to the top’. This idea is one of the most prevalent social and cultural tropes of our time, as palpable in the speeches of politicians as in popular culture. In this book Jo Littler argues that meritocracy is the key cultural means of legitimation for contemporary neoliberal culture – and that whilst it promises opportunity, it in fact creates new forms of social division. Against Meritocracy is split into two parts. Part I explores the genealogies of meritocracy within social theory, political discourse and working cultures. It traces the dramatic U-turn in meritocracy’s meaning, from socialist slur to a contemporary ideal of how a society should be organised. Part II uses a series of case studies to analyse the cultural pull of popular ‘parables of progress’, from reality TV to the super-rich and celebrity CEOs, from social media controversies to the rise of the ‘mumpreneur’. Paying special attention to the role of gender, ‘race’ and class, this book provides new conceptualisations of the meaning of meritocracy in contemporary culture and society.
An accessible, timely, and stimulating introduction to the sociology of gender, The Kaleidoscope of Gender: Prisms, Patterns, and Possibilities, Third Edition, provides a comprehensive analysis of key ideas, theories, and applications in this field as viewed through the metaphor of a kaleidoscope. This collection of creative articles by top scholars explains how the complex, evolving pattern of gender is constructed interpersonally, institutionally, and culturally and challenges students to question how gender shapes their daily lives. Like the prior edition, the Third Edition maintains a focus on contemporary contributions to the field while incorporating classical and theoretical arguments to provide a broad framework. Integrating a cross-cultural focus and intersectional inquiry, this unique text/reader vividly illustrates that gender is a malleable continuum of prisms, patterns, and possibilities.
We are said to be living in the age of entitlement. Scholars and pundits declare that millennials expect special treatment, do whatever they feel like, and think they deserve to have things handed to them. In The Myth of the Age of Entitlement, Cairns peels back the layers of the entitlement myth, exposing its faults and arguing that the majority of millennials are actually disentitled, facing bleak economic prospects and potential ecological disaster. Providing insights from millennials rarely profiled in the mainstream media, Cairns redefines entitlement as a fundamental concept for realizing economic and environmental justice.
One of the most savage critiques of Modernity ever written on so-called Democracy (in its many forms), Meritocracy, What is Truth - Fact or Fiction, the Mass Media and Individualism. Meaning in essence that Socrates famous axiom is as relevant today as it was in the past, which was according to Plato: ‘that the unexamined life is not worth living’.