By Jennifer M. Silva
What does it suggest to develop up this day as working-class teens? How does the industrial and social instability left within the wake of neoliberalism form their identities, their understandings of the yankee Dream, and their futures?
Coming Up Short illuminates the transition to maturity for working-class women and men. relocating clear of effortless labels similar to the "Peter Pan generation," Jennifer Silva finds the a ways bleaker photo of the way the erosion of conventional markers of adulthood-marriage, a gentle task, a home of one's own-has replaced what it capability to develop up as a part of the post-industrial operating classification. in line with 100 interviews with working-class humans in towns-Lowell, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia-Silva sheds gentle on their adventure of heightened financial lack of confidence, deepening inequality, and uncertainty approximately marriage and relatives. Silva argues that, for those women and men, coming of age potential coming to phrases with the absence of selection. As chances and desire agreement, entering into maturity has been re-defined as a means of own struggle-an grownup isn't any longer somebody with a small domestic and a competent motor vehicle, yet a person who has confronted and conquer own demons to reconstruct a remodeled self. certainly, instead of flip to politics to revive the conventional operating category, this iteration builds which means and dignity during the fight to exorcise the demons of familial abuse, psychological illnesses, habit, or betrayal in earlier relationships. This dramatic and mostly not noted shift reduces changing into an grownup to solitary soreness, self-blame, and an unending looking for symptoms of progress.
This powerfully written e-book specializes in those people who are such a lot vulnerable-young, working-class humans, together with African-Americans, girls, and unmarried parents-and finds what, in very genuine phrases, the death of the social safeguard web capability to their fragile carry at the American Dream.
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Extra info for Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty
Trying to gauge whether he was disappointed in how his life has turned out so far. ” Pressing him further, I questioned, “So when you were in high school you were trying to figure it out? ” “I didn’t think about it,” he laughed. ” He shrugged and shook his head. “I knew college was out of the question for me. I couldn’t afford it, wasn’t smart enough, didn’t have the discipline to go, still don’t (laughs). ” Instead, Jalen joined the Marine Corps after high school, explaining: 26 Actually I was going to a party, a graduation party, I think I had just graduated myself.
Creating a good life for oneself requires escaping the market through institutional protections, including tenure, subsidies for housing or education, wage regulation, labor laws, or health insurance (Sorensen 2000). Yet neoliberal policies have chipped away at these institutional protections, leaving Rebecca’s generation on their own without a net— except, perhaps, for one made of plastic. The men and women in this sample embrace the logic of individualism and self-reliance, gambling hard-earned money, stability, and self-worth in their quests to make it on their own.
1985; Giddens 1991; Illouz 2008; Silva 2012). 21 In this memoir, the thirty-two-year-old protagonist, unhappy in her marriage and feeling stunted in her job, initiates a divorce and travels around the world in a quest for self-discovery. Riding her bike “freely in the sunset through Bali,” Gilbert (2006: 260) proclaims: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.