Class, culture, and downward mobility
The study of class and cultureis predominately the study of class reproduction, not also downward mobility. This article maintains that sociologists do not see the cultural mechanisms associated with downward mobility because we share three collective blinders. First, we under-emphasize the ways that middle-class cultural practices are mismatched with the practices that institutions reward. Second, we over-emphasize the utility of middle-class cultural practices for their class reproduction. We do this as we focus on youths’ cultural practices within institutions, ignoring that not all youth enter institutions associated with class reproduction. Third, we assume that the dominant cultural practices of each class keeps youth in their original social class. In doing so, we do not consider that middle-class actors avoid downward mobility by adopting the dominant practices of the working-class. Using interview data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, this article shows how removing these blinders can help us understand how culture relates to downward mobility. It does so by revisiting Lareau's theory of how entitlement and constraint relate to class reproduction.
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