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Categorically unequal : the American stratification system / Douglas S. Massey.

By: Massey, Douglas S.
Contributor(s): Russell Sage Foundation.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Russell Sage Foundation centennial volume: Publisher: New York : Russell Sage Foundation, c2007Description: xvii, 319 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780871545855 (alk. paper); 0871545853 (alk. paper); 9780871545848 (pbk.); 0871545845 (pbk.).Other title: American stratification system.Subject(s): Equality -- United States | Social stratification -- United States | United States -- Social conditions -- 1945-DDC classification: 305.0973 Online resources: Table of contents
About the author -- Foreword -- Preface -- How stratification works -- The rise and fall of egalitarian capitalism -- Reworking the color line -- Building a better underclass -- Remaking the political economy -- Engendering inequality -- America unequal -- Notes -- References -- Index.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
HN90.S6 M36 2007 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002071066

Includes bibliographical references (p. 263-301) and index.

About the author -- Foreword -- Preface -- ch. 1. How stratification works -- ch. 2. The rise and fall of egalitarian capitalism -- ch. 3. Reworking the color line -- ch. 4. Building a better underclass -- ch. 5. Remaking the political economy -- ch. 6. Engendering inequality -- ch. 7. America unequal -- Notes -- References -- Index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Massey (Princeton Univ., Woodrow Wilson School) seeks to provide both a theoretical account of the origins of social stratification and an empirical analysis of recent changes in the US stratification system. He is quite successful in the latter goal, but much less so in the former. Borrowing from work in the cognitive neurosciences, Massey sees inequality as "rooted in the human proclivity to think in categorical terms." Over time, this proclivity becomes solidified into the workings of social organizations and institutions, which then operate on the basic strategies of exploitation and opportunity hoarding. After outlining his theoretical approach, Massey presents a detailed, data-driven analysis of recent changes in the US stratification system. The application of cognitive neuroscience to explain the origins of inequality is puzzling, and seems almost an unnecessary appendage to the empirical detail throughout the work. Arguing that humans think in categorical terms tells virtually nothing about how they come to elevate some categories above others. Marx, Weber, and many standard sociological treatments are much better guides to this process than are the cognitive neurosciences. Massey's unnecessary detour aside, the book does provide some very telling and important data about recent changes to the US stratification system that, in the end, make it a worthwhile read. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. C. Ward Western Connecticut State University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p> DOUGLAS S. MASSEY is the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University.</p>

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