1st Edition

Making Sense of Race, Class, and Gender Commonsense, Power, and Privilege in the United States

By Celine-Marie Pascale Copyright 2007
    168 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Using arresting case studies of how ordinary people understand the concepts of race, class, and gender, Celine-Marie Pascale shows that the peculiarity of commonsense is that it imposes obviousness-that which we cannot fail to recognize. As a result, how we negotiate the challenges of inequality in the twenty-first century may depend less on what people consciously think about "difference" and more on what we inadvertently assume. Through an analysis of commonsense knowledge, Pascale expertly provides new insights into familiar topics. In addition, by analyzing local practices in the context of established cultural discourses, Pascale shows how the weight of history bears on the present moment, both enabling and constraining possibilities. Pascale tests the boundaries of sociological knowledge and offers new avenues for conceptualizing social change.

    Chapter One Introduction 1 Chapter Two Routine Matters of Race 47 Chapter Three All The Right Stuff: Gender and Sexuality 97 Chapter Four Class: A Representational Economy 143 Chapter Five Moving Forward 190 Appendix A Interviewees 201 Appendix B Data Collection of Newspaper Articles 202 References 204


    Celine-Marie Pascale is Assistant Professor of Sociology at American University and an associate of the Center for Social Media. She is Co-President of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 25, Language, and Society.

    Making Sense of Race, Class, and Gender offers an articulate analysis of some of the most important commonsense structures of everyday life, developing a sociology of language and representation that attends to both local interactional practices and widely-shared discursive formations. Scholars of social stratification, inequality, and social psychology should read this book. If they want to give their students an engaging, empirical examination of how race, class, and gender play out in everyday talk and interaction, this book is definitely for them.

    —James A. Holstein, Professor, Marquette University

    Pascale provides us with a superb, innovative study of the ways in which ordinary people make sense of race, class, gender, and sexuality in their everyday lives. Pascale's most courageous innovation is to place sociological, ethnographic, and post-modern discursive analysis in conversation with each other, and as tools for analysis, crossing traditionally fixed disciplinary boundaries. This is an eminently readable text in which theory is made clear and accessible, and in which ordinary people speak for themselves. 

    —Bettina Aptheker, Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz