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White Man's Work: Race and Middle-Class Mobility Into the Progressive Era

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In the financial chaos of the last few decades, increasing wealth inequality has shaken people's expectations about middle-class stability. At the same time, demographers have predicted the "browning" of the nation's middle class--once considered a de facto "white" category--over the next twenty years as the country becomes increasingly racially diverse. In this book, Joseph O. Jewell takes us back to the turn of the twentieth century to show how evidence of middle-class mobility among Black, Mexican American, and Chinese men generated both new anxieties and varieties of backlash among white populations.

Blending cultural history and historical sociology, Jewell chronicles the continually evolving narratives that linked whiteness with middle-class mobility and middle-class manhood. In doing so, Jewell addresses a key issue in the historical sociology of race: how racialized groups demarcate, defend, and alter social positions in overlapping hierarchies of race, class, and gender. New racist narratives about non-white men occupying middle-class occupations emerged in cities across the nation at the turn of the century. These stories helped to shore up white supremacy in the face of far-reaching changes to the nation's racialized economic order.


ISBN-13: 9781469673486

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press

Publication Date: 12-05-2023

Pages: 210

Product Dimensions: 9.21h x 6.14w x 0.63d