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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

(p.157) 5 A Fear of Slipping
The Burdens of Aspiration

Elsa Davidson

NYU Press

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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