Betsy Leondar-WrightMissing Class: How Seeing Class Cultures Can Strengthen Social Movement Groups

Cornell University Press, 2014

by Annie Sapucaia on April 23, 2014

Betsy Leondar-Wright

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Gender and race are visible markers of identity, regularly talked about both in the news and sociology circles. There is another marker, however, that is just as important and predictive, but much less visible – social class.  In Missing Class: How Seeing Class Cultures Can Strengthen Social Movement Groups (Cornell University Press, 2014), Betsy Leondar-Wright attempts to bring class to the forefront of the conversation by describing how belonging to a particular social class can affect interaction within social movement groups.  She classifies a number of “class cultures” based primarily on formal education and occupation, such as lifelong working-class, lifelong professional middle class, voluntarily downwardly mobile and upwardly mobile class.  Through a comprehensive study of 25 activist groups, Leondar-Wright discovers that class, more than gender or race or age in many cases, greatly predicts attitude and behavior (the way one deals with conflict or the way one speaks, as examples).  Acknowledging class differences in social activist groups can help to ease communication and better use the strengths that each particular class culture can offer.

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