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The Burdens of AspirationSchools, Youth, and Success in the Divided Social Worlds of Silicon Valley$
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Elsa Davidson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720875

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720875.001.0001

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A Fear of Slipping

A Fear of Slipping

A Cultural Politics of Class

Chapter:
(p.157) 5 A Fear of Slipping
Source:
The Burdens of Aspiration
Author(s):

Elsa Davidson

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814720875.003.0005

This chapter examines the political, social, and economic milieu of Silicon Valley's established professional middle class. In particular, it considers the ways in which these middle-class professionals channeled frustration about their eroding security and status into a politics of nostalgia for a pre-“New Economy” past, a critique of a “new entrepreneurial” present, during the boom and subsequent bust. In analyzing the political implications of this “cultural politics of class,” the chapter reveals expressions of adult middle-class anxiety and political entrapment that influenced young people's styles of self-definition and aspiration management. It also discusses the attitudes of middle-class adults toward the lifestyle and ethos of younger professionals whom they felt were usurping an older, middle-class order.

Keywords:   middle class, middle-class professionals, nostalgia, Silicon Valley, class politics, anxiety, political entrapment, young people, self-definition, aspiration management

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