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Class Unknown
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Class Unknown: Undercover Investigations of American Work and Poverty from the Progressive Era to the Present

Mark Pittenger


Since the Gilded Age, social scientists, middle-class reformers, and writers have left the comforts of their offices to “pass” as steel workers, coal miners, assembly-line laborers, waitresses, hoboes, and other working and poor people in an attempt to gain a fuller and more authentic understanding of the lives of the working class and the poor. This book examines how intellectuals were shaped by their experiences with the poor, and how despite their sympathy toward working-class people, they unintentionally helped to develop the contemporary concept of a degraded and “other” American undercla ... More

Keywords: working class, poor, underclass, American social thought, class division, intellectuals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780814767405
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814767405.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mark Pittenger, author

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Part I A World of Difference: Constructing the Underclass in Progressive America, 1890–1920

Part II Between the Wars, 1920–1941

Part III The Declining Significance of Class, 1941–1961

Part IV Conclusion

End Matter