RELEASED BY OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
There are two narratives of the American class structure: one of a country with boundless opportunities for upward mobility and one of a rigid class system in which the rich stay rich while the poor stay poor. Each of these narratives holds some truth, but each overlooks another. This country is also a land of downward mobility – one in which falling out of the upper-middle-class is as common as staying in it.
Privilege Lost traces the lives of over 100 youth born into the upper-middle-class. Following them for over ten years as they transition from teens to young adults, this book shows who falls from the upper-middle-class, how, and why don’t they see it coming. In doing so, it reveals the patterned ways that individuals’ resources and identities push them onto mobility paths – and the complicated choices youth make between staying true to themselves and staying in their class position.
Engaging and eye-opening, this book tells the downwardly mobile that they are not alone, tells the less-privileged that those born with more still don’t have or know it all, and tells everyone why we need a more equitable class system. Staying privileged is never guaranteed – giving greater reason to institute policies that support people in every social class.