Reading Assignment: ZWEIG, Michael The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret ZWEIG, Introduction (Pp: 1-5) ZWEIG, Chapter 1 The Class Structure of the United States (Pp: 1-39) Custom Essay

Reading Assignment: ZWEIG, Michael The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret ZWEIG, Introduction (Pp: 1-5) ZWEIG, Chapter 1 The Class Structure of the United States (Pp: 1-39) QUIZ 2: On ZWEIG, Intro & Chapter 1 You have thought about, and written about *your* ideas about the concept of class & trade unions. You have also interviewed 2 other people with regard to their opinions on these issues. And now, with FORUM # 3, we will begin our study of Michael Zweigs book, The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret to learn more about these issues from an economic, political and sociological framework. Your work in the previous FORUMS will inform your work for the rest of the semester because, if the perspective of Michael Zweig and Labor Studies, in general, differs from the dominant cultural values and beliefs Americans have about class we need to know why! We need to understand what the Best Kept Secret in America is and what can be done about it! The Introduction and Chapter 1 explore the concept of class, the working class, the economic and political structures that shape the reality of class in U.S. society, and the cultural values & beliefs shared by the majority of American citizens about class structures. We begin to move into a deeper analysis of the structure of capitalism and the power of class in our society and lives even though the significance of class may often be dismissed, ignored, or hidden made invisible almost a *secret* as noted in the title of Zweigs book. Michael Zweig is a Professor of Economics at SUNY Stony Brook in New York, and a scholar in working class studies. In addition to The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret, Zweig has written a number of other articles and books on the working class, including the edited anthology, Whats Class Got to Do with It? Zweig is also the founder & Director of THE CENTER FOR STUDY OF WORKING CLASS LIFE at SUNY Stony Brook, http://www.stonybrook.edu/workingclass/ NOTE: Students will meet Michael Zweig (on screen) in the film assigned in FORUM # 4, Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class. He is one of the experts interviewed by the filmmakers. Reading this book will illuminate many facets of the structures of social class, how class functions and how it affects our lives. We will explore the reasons why class has been dismissed, trivialized and erased from public awareness in U.S. popular culture the (normative) culture of daily life. We will examine the ways working class people collude with (go along with, or agree to) the obfuscation or erasure of class. Of great importance will be our consideration of the many different ways working class people are divided against each other mistrusting and looking down upon other sectors of our working class most especially African Americans, Latinos, and immigrants. And, we will reflect on whythe American people are encouraged to think that class divisions dont exist or at least that the tag or label of being working class does not apply to hard-working people who aspire for more, who want to achieve upward mobility, who believe that everyone is middle class. MICHAEL ZWEIGS APPROACH TO THE CONCEPT OF CLASS All the discussion in Zweigs book and in the film, Class Dismissed analyze our cultural values & beliefs about work, labor, the American Dream, and being middle class vs. working class and this is what the Anthropological Sensibility is all about. Zweig is challenging his readers to re-think what we believe about class. YET, as members of our families, communities, ethnic groups, generational group, gender and nation, we all acquire a set of shared cultural beliefs about class through the complex process of enculturation (sociologists refer to this same process as, socialization); every member of society acquires these values & beliefs from a variety of sources. We learn what class is, and how to think about it (and how *not* think about it) through our families, school, church, peer group associations, TV, films, magazine, books, jokes, music, art work, etc. Zweig challenges his readers to re-think, re-examine, and re-evaluate many of the so-called truths about class that we have acquired through our process of growing up to be members of our society, our culture as we learn to accept many of the dominant beliefs of U.S. Society. You are encouraged to challenge or disagree with Zweigs definitions and his conclusions but your comments in FORUM # 3 must refer to the data presented in ZWEIGs book; demonstrate that you understand his arguments! Any outside sources you bring into your Discussion Postings need to be referenced, providing page number citations. If these outside sources are from conversations with friends, or other unreferenced social media, you need to state that. ZWEIGS BOOK: Introduction & Chapter 1. The Introduction outlines what the entire book will address and explains the title of the book: What is the secret? Why dont the majority of Americans know the secret? On what criteria does Zweig propose that the working class includes the majority of all working Americans? *Secrets*are always about something important! They are *always* about hiding something, something people arent supposed to know. Our task for the entire Zweig book is to uncover the secrets about class to discover why class is such a hidden or ignored part of social life in the United States. (Other social identities like gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are much more present in our daily lives and we are aware of their impact on our lives and on our ways of thinking.) Why are the structures and realities of class hidden in American popular culture? In our daily lives? What purpose does this obfuscation serve? Pay particular attention to the three levels on which class operates: Economic, Political (power & control), and Cultural. Michael Zweig states clearly in his Introduction that he is most interested in the political aspect of class, the issues of the power and control people have and dont have in their lives. The field of Labor Studies and the author of our current book, economist Michael Zweig, focus on the first two levels of class (economic class and political class). These aspects of class provide the foundation for our course. Most writers and journalists in the wider popular culture (including Films, TV and the Mass Media) focus on the cultural aspects of class lifestyle and consumer choices. CHAPTER 1: THE CLASS STRUCTURE OF THE UNITED STATES (Pp: 7-39) Zweig defines an individuals class position according to the degree of power and control (decision-making and authority) individuals exercise at their workplace. Zweig discusses class ambiguities the open-ended nature of class positions, the illusion of mobility, and issues of fluidity and change between classes, and within the same class. However, he delineates the specific characteristics that define each class, and he presents a profile or portrait of each class: The Capitalist Class The Ruling Class The Middle Class Be sure you understand the definitions/description of each class. [REFER TO YOUR GLOSSARY! (posted up on the RESOURCES Tab, in the FOLDER labeled COURSE ORG DOCS.] Two additional sections in this chapter are key: How Classes Persist (Pp: 17-18) Class Ambiguities (Pp: 36-39) Zweigs approach to the concept of class, his general framework, is very different from our normal assumptions and attitudes about class issues. Students need to carefully work through the case study examples provided by ZWEIG. The way our author and Labor Studies in general conceptualizes CLASS STRUCTURE is *not* familiar or obvious to students. Your ability to follow the logic of his argument requires a slow, deep reading, taking notes on your questions, confusion and points of difference and disagreement with him. Only out of this vortex can we learn how U.S. citizens *normally* think about class issues in contrast with the way Labor Studies approaches the same topic. EXAMPLE: Students often write that they agree with Zweigs assessment that the economic level of class is *most* important. But that is NOT Michael Zweigs position. He asserts that the political level of class is primary (not the economic level or the cultural level of class). Be sure you understand the logic of his argument how does ZWEIG define class? FORUM # 3, QUESTIONS FOR STUDENT POSTINGS Be sure to include references (pg. number citations to the text and/or Lecture Notes) From Chapter 1: What does Zweig mean when he discusses class ambiguities? How does Michael Zweig Define the concept of class? Discuss some piece of new information you learned from the reading, and explain why it is important to you. Identify some question(s) you have about the reading, or some point with which you disagree and explain why.; Reading Assignment: ZWEIG, Michael The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret ZWEIG, Introduction (Pp: 1-5) ZWEIG, Chapter 1 The Class Structure of the United States (Pp: 1-39) QUIZ 2: On ZWEIG, Intro & Chapter 1 You have thought about, and written about *your* ideas about the concept of class & trade unions. You have also interviewed 2 other people with regard to their opinions on these issues. And now, with FORUM # 3, we will begin our study of Michael Zweigs book, The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret to learn more about these issues from an economic, political and sociological framework. Your work in the previous FORUMS will inform your work for the rest of the semester because, if the perspective of Michael Zweig and Labor Studies, in general, differs from the dominant cultural values and beliefs Americans have about class we need to know why! We need to understand what the Best Kept Secret in America is and what can be done about it! The Introduction and Chapter 1 explore the concept of class, the working class, the economic and political structures that shape the reality of class in U.S. society, and the cultural values & beliefs shared by the majority of American citizens about class structures. We begin to move into a deeper analysis of the structure of capitalism and the power of class in our society and lives even though the significance of class may often be dismissed, ignored, or hidden made invisible almost a *secret* as noted in the title of Zweigs book. Michael Zweig is a Professor of Economics at SUNY Stony Brook in New York, and a scholar in working class studies. In addition to The Working Class Majority: Americas Best Kept Secret, Zweig has written a number of other articles and books on the working class, including the edited anthology, Whats Class Got to Do with It? Zweig is also the founder & Director of THE CENTER FOR STUDY OF WORKING CLASS LIFE at SUNY Stony Brook, http://www.stonybrook.edu/workingclass/ NOTE: Students will meet Michael Zweig (on screen) in the film assigned in FORUM # 4, Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class. He is one of the experts interviewed by the filmmakers. Reading this book will illuminate many facets of the structures of social class, how class functions and how it affects our lives. We will explore the reasons why class has been dismissed, trivialized and erased from public awareness in U.S. popular culture the (normative) culture of daily life. We will examine the ways working class people collude with (go along with, or agree to) the obfuscation or erasure of class. Of great importance will be our consideration of the many different ways working class people are divided against each other mistrusting and looking down upon other sectors of our working class most especially African Americans, Latinos, and immigrants. And, we will reflect on whythe American people are encouraged to think that class divisions dont exist or at least that the tag or label of being working class does not apply to hard-working people who aspire for more, who want to achieve upward mobility, who believe that everyone is middle class. MICHAEL ZWEIGS APPROACH TO THE CONCEPT OF CLASS All the discussion in Zweigs book and in the film, Class Dismissed analyze our cultural values & beliefs about work, labor, the American Dream, and being middle class vs. working class and this is what the Anthropological Sensibility is all about. Zweig is challenging his readers to re-think what we believe about class. YET, as members of our families, communities, ethnic groups, generational group, gender and nation, we all acquire a set of shared cultural beliefs about class through the complex process of enculturation (sociologists refer to this same process as, socialization); every member of society acquires these values & beliefs from a variety of sources. We learn what class is, and how to think about it (and how *not* think about it) through our families, school, church, peer group associations, TV, films, magazine, books, jokes, music, art work, etc. Zweig challenges his readers to re-think, re-examine, and re-evaluate many of the so-called truths about class that we have acquired through our process of growing up to be members of our society, our culture as we learn to accept many of the dominant beliefs of U.S. Society. You are encouraged to challenge or disagree with Zweigs definitions and his conclusions but your comments in FORUM # 3 must refer to the data presented in ZWEIGs book; demonstrate that you understand his arguments! Any outside sources you bring into your Discussion Postings need to be referenced, providing page number citations. If these outside sources are from conversations with friends, or other unreferenced social media, you need to state that. ZWEIGS BOOK: Introduction & Chapter 1. The Introduction outlines what the entire book will address and explains the title of the book: What is the secret? Why dont the majority of Americans know the secret? On what criteria does Zweig propose that the working class includes the majority of all working Americans? *Secrets*are always about something important! They are *always* about hiding something, something people arent supposed to know. Our task for the entire Zweig book is to uncover the secrets about class to discover why class is such a hidden or ignored part of social life in the United States. (Other social identities like gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are much more present in our daily lives and we are aware of their impact on our lives and on our ways of thinking.) Why are the structures and realities of class hidden in American popular culture? In our daily lives? What purpose does this obfuscation serve? Pay particular attention to the three levels on which class operates: Economic, Political (power & control), and Cultural. Michael Zweig states clearly in his Introduction that he is most interested in the political aspect of class, the issues of the power and control people have and dont have in their lives. The field of Labor Studies and the author of our current book, economist Michael Zweig, focus on the first two levels of class (economic class and political class). These aspects of class provide the foundation for our course. Most writers and journalists in the wider popular culture (including Films, TV and the Mass Media) focus on the cultural aspects of class lifestyle and consumer choices. CHAPTER 1: THE CLASS STRUCTURE OF THE UNITED STATES (Pp: 7-39) Zweig defines an individuals class position according to the degree of power and control (decision-making and authority) individuals exercise at their workplace. Zweig discusses class ambiguities the open-ended nature of class positions, the illusion of mobility, and issues of fluidity and change between classes, and within the same class. However, he delineates the specific characteristics that define each class, and he presents a profile or portrait of each class: The Capitalist Class The Ruling Class The Middle Class Be sure you understand the definitions/description of each class. [REFER TO YOUR GLOSSARY! (posted up on the RESOURCES Tab, in the FOLDER labeled COURSE ORG DOCS.] Two additional sections in this chapter are key: How Classes Persist (Pp: 17-18) Class Ambiguities (Pp: 36-39) Zweigs approach to the concept of class, his general framework, is very different from our normal assumptions and attitudes about class issues. Students need to carefully work through the case study examples provided by ZWEIG. The way our author and Labor Studies in general conceptualizes CLASS STRUCTURE is *not* familiar or obvious to students. Your ability to follow the logic of his argument requires a slow, deep reading, taking notes on your questions, confusion and points of difference and disagreement with him. Only out of this vortex can we learn how U.S. citizens *normally* think about class issues in contrast with the way Labor Studies approaches the same topic. EXAMPLE: Students often write that they agree with Zweigs assessment that the economic level of class is *most* important. But that is NOT Michael Zweigs position. He asserts that the political level of class is primary (not the economic level or the cultural level of class). Be sure you understand the logic of his argument how does ZWEIG define class? FORUM # 3, QUESTIONS FOR STUDENT POSTINGS Be sure to include references (pg. number citations to the text and/or Lecture Notes) From Chapter 1: What does Zweig mean when he discusses class ambiguities? How does Michael Zweig Define the concept of class? Discuss some piece of new information you learned from the reading, and explain why it is important to you. Identify some question(s) you have about the reading, or some point with which you disagree and explain why.

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