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Jessi Streib, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Duke University

Downward Mobility in an Age of Affluence
When Oct 31, 2016
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Presentation

Recent cohorts of upper-middle-class children have received more resources than nearly any subset of children in American history. Upper-middle-class parents earned more money, spent more money on their children, and spent more time with their children than most previous generations. These investments should allow upper-middle-class youth to easily reproduce their parents’ class position, yet downward mobility remains routine. In recent cohorts, two in five Americans born to the top income quintile fell into the bottom three. By occupation, one in three men dropped down the class ladder. By education, over one in four youth with college-educated parents did not graduate from college themselves. Drawing from panel interview data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, this talk explains how downward mobility occurs in an age of affluence. It argues that upper-middle-class youth internalize one of six different habituses, and that each is associated with different likelihoods of becoming downwardly mobile.

About the Speaker

portrait of jessi streib

Jessi Streib is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Duke University. Her research uncovers mechanisms and builds theories about how social class inequality is experienced, reproduced, and alleviated. Her book, The Power of the Past: Understanding Cross-Class Marriages, builds a theory of how love crosses class lines, uncovers a new way that culture systematically varies by class, and demonstrates that the class does not come out of the person after the person comes out of the class. Her articles illuminate how childrearing strategies vary by parents' class background and how four-year-old children engage in class reproduction.

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