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Driving After Class: Anxious Times in an American Suburb

Rachel Heiman
Format
Book
Published
Oakland, California : University of California Press, 2015.
Language
English
ISBN
9780520277748, 0520277740, 9780520277755, 0520277759
Summary
"A paradoxical situation emerged in the late 1990s: the dramatic upscaling of the suburban American dream, even as the possibilities for achieving and maintaining it diminished. Driving After Class explores middle-class anxieties and suburban life during those years. Drawing on nineteen months of ethnographic research in a suburban New Jersey town as McMansions sprouted up next to subdivisions of moderately sized colonial-style homes and infrastructural essentials like schools and roads became overburdened, each chapter throws into relief subtle gradations within the middle class and among middle-class sensibilities, and brings to life the ways that people were reorienting themselves--both consciously and unconsciously--to the discursive and material displacement of postwar liberal approaches to middle-class life in favor of newly dominant neoliberal logics. The ethnographic moments illustrated in the book, drawn from fieldwork in people's homes, their town hall, and their SUVs, reveal the ways that efforts to appease feelings of insecurity--whether through place-making practices, childrearing strategies, or 'had-to-have' purchases--often made people (and their neighbors) feel and be less secure. The economics and cultural politics of the constellation of these ways of being, which I have termed 'rugged entitlement, ' ended up steering many children, youth, and parents into ambivalence about the structuring and texture of their everyday lives: it is exhausting work to be strategically and persistently driving after class. But more often than not, unable to imagine the possibility of crafting another way of life, most curbed these unsettling doubts and resolutely fueled up for the ride"--Provided by publisher.
Contents
  • Being post-Brooklyn
  • Gate expectations
  • Driving after class
  • Vehicles for rugged entitlement
  • From white flight to community might
  • A conclusion, or rather, a commencement.
Description
xix, 288 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-274) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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