Class Culture Is A Real Structure Essay

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Reading America- Sherry B. Ortner
Ortner views class culture is a “real structure” in American society. The classic Marxist view attributes the differential relations of class to the means of production. A small number of people own the major systems of the production, while the rest of the population produces the wealth that contributes to the few. The neo-Marxist account expresses class as the salaried middle class and their power over other people’s lives, whether one owns the means of production or not. Neo-Marxism displays the discourses of ethnicity, race, and gender through prejudice, discrimination, stigmatization, and pain.
American culture has overestimated the opportunity and mobility open to individual achievement. This means we have an absence of class discourse in American culture. Classes are social categories that cannot be understood in terms of individual motives and desires. Americans tend to blame themselves for their failures, or downward mobility. The chances for success are limited not just because of individual failure, but because individuals are engaged in an arena of gender, race and ethnic origins. This is known as “the hidden injuries of class”(Ortner, pg. 171)
Working class and middle class practices of gender, sexual relations, and parent child relations, are forms of resistance and compliance of upward class mobility. Gender relations for both middle-class and working class, carry a burden of class meaning. Working classes have a
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