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Thrift and Thriving in AmericaCapitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present$
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Joshua Yates and James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769063.001.0001

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Middle-Class Respectability in Twenty-First-Century America

Middle-Class Respectability in Twenty-First-Century America

Work and Lifestyle in the Professional-Managerial Stratum

Chapter:
(p.462) 19 Middle-Class Respectability in Twenty-First-Century America
Source:
Thrift and Thriving in America
Author(s):

Steven Brint

Kristopher Proctor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769063.003.0019

This chapter surveys the economic, work, and lifestyle habits of the “professional-managerial” class—those strata of citizens who have traditionally been thrift's most consistent and enthusiastic boosters. Evidence resists the popular impression (and caricature by social critics) that this group is today among the most consumerist of Americans. It is shown that although members of this class are relatively more likely to think of their consumption as an opportunity for self-expression, this is neither crass materialism nor does it lack in strenuous forms of self-restraint. It is also shown that rather than material scarcity, the most precious, and by far the rarest, resource in their lives is time. Thus, far from a riot of hedonism and permissiveness, these Americans are, on the whole, a highly disciplined group. Due to the increasing pressures of global capitalism, which has seen the professional-managerial stratum become a truly worldwide phenomenon, it appears they have to be disciplined if they want to stay competitive.

Keywords:   professional-managerial class, thrift, consumerism, consumption, global capitalism

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