Class Cultures Caucus

The six of us are forming an informal Class Cultures Caucus within the Working-Class Studies Association in order to more systematically support and advance the work we and others have been doing to understand the broad differences between working-class and middle-class cultures – and the implications of those differences for the various forms of economic, social and cultural inequalities working-class people face today.  For us, class is more than money or social position, it is also a way of life, with particular ways of being, tastes, interests, values, and expectations of how the world works.

Specific goals:

  • To help scholars and others working on class and culture meet each other, learn from each other, and promote each other’s work.
  • To encourage panels, author-meets-critic sessions, and other conference sessions about class cultures at the Working-Class Studies conference.
  • To stimulate the development of alternative sets of explanations for working-class circumstances that do not devalue working-class people and that work against classist rhetoric, theorizing, and measurement.
  • To foment dialogue between academics who take structural and cultural approaches to understanding social class inequality, to better understand the links between them.
  • To foster discussion within Working-Class Studies between our more anthropological sense of “culture” as a way of life and Humanities scholars who more often see “culture” as expression and representation while also probing insights into working-class ways of living a life.
  • To bring greater awareness of Working-Class Studies scholarship to sociologists and other scholars working within the tradition of Pierre Bourdieu, while also making that important work more widely available within Working-Class Studies.
  • To network and cross-fertilize with people applying class-culture ideas in community settings, including popular educators, activists, unionists, community psychologists, and artists.
  • To promote self-awareness of our own class positions and identities, and to interrogate how they relate to unequal distributions of power.

For more info, please contact Jack Metzgar at jackmetz1@comcast.net

  • Allison L. Hurst, sociology, author of College and the Working Class
  • Barbara Jensen, psychology, author of Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America
  • Betsy Leondar-Wright, sociology, author of Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movements by Seeing Class Cultures
  • Jack Metzgar, humanities, author of Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered
  • Jessi Streib, sociology, The Power of the Past: Understanding Cross-Class Marriages
  • Jeff Torlina, sociology, author of Working Class: Challenging Myths About Blue-Collar Labor