Class Reunion: The Remaking of the American White Working by Lois Weis

By Lois Weis

Famous pupil Lois Weis first visited town of "Freeway" in her 1990 e-book, operating type with out paintings. In that booklet we met the scholars and lecturers of Freeway's highschool to appreciate how those working-class fogeys made feel in their lives. Now, fifteen years later, Weis has long past again to highway for sophistication Reunion. This time her concentration is at the now grown-up scholars who're, for the main half, nonetheless operating category and now suffering to outlive the demanding situations of the worldwide financial system. type Reunion is a unprecedented and important longitudinal ethnographic examine that gives robust, provocative perception into how the lives of those women and men have replaced over the past decades--and what their clients can be for the longer term.

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At the center of the young men’s identity, then, sits the dominant male in both the home/ family sphere and the paid labor force. This core expression of male dominance is borne out by classroom observations. Young women, although challenging the male fantasy rather fundamentally in some respects, as I suggest in Chapter 2, do not speak out against the boys in class, leaving an envisioned maledominant future intact, at least in the public space of the school. Interestingly enough, when this vision is interrupted, it is by male teachers, virtually all of whom are from the community in which these students reside.

Then marital problems come up, financial problems, whatever. I don’t really want to get involved in the intense 38 ● CLASS REUNION kind of problems between you and a spouse…. To me it’s a joke…I look at my father and mother. They don’t get along, really. The vast majority of young white working-class men in the mid1980s cling to a fantasy that swirls around the establishment of a home space in which they exert complete control over their wives. Significantly, they imagine a home in which they go out to work and their wives stay at home, tending to them, the house, and their children.

JIM: Who asked you? *** Social Studies, December 12, 1985 [Page 103 of the text] Mr. Samuels goes over the multiple-choice questions and asks students to answer. MR. SAMUELS: Question: Women are basically unwilling to assume positions in the business world. Agree or disagree? SAM: Agree. MR. SAMUELS: Why? SAM: Because women want to raise children and get married. MR. SAMUELS: All women? SAM: No, but most. MR. SAMUELS: Anyone disagree? [No disagreement] No doubt the “correct” answer is “disagree,” but the teacher does not push for further discussion.

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