Is the consciousness of Americans in the midst of dramatic transformation? Or do people think and feel much the same as they have always thought and felt? Do most people enjoy their work, or hate it? Is the American family being replaced by new institutional forms, or is it much the same as it was in the 1950's? Have material values been replaced by a "postmaterial consciousness" in a postindustrial society? Are Americans becoming more conservative, less conservative, or staying about the same? State of the Masses asks the important questions.
Originally published in 1986, this prescient study evaluate the views of social critics, neo-conservatives, neo-Marxists, post-industrialists, and the theorists of the little man, who puport to describe the nature, social conditions, outlooks, and motivations of the American populace. The claims of one group are often diametrically opposed to those of another. The authors make the case for which claims can be considered true and which false. Hamilton and Wright analyze the contradictory claims and compares their implications with the best social science research and data available at that time. They also explore the implications for theories in light of the conflicting portrait the evidence provides. The authors conclude with a new perspective for understanding continuities and changes in the United States. This is a prescient view of American society during turmoil, and a model for how social science research can be used predictively.
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About the Author
Richard F. Hamilton is emeritus professor of sociology and political science at The Ohio State University. He has written twelve books and seventy articles, mostly dealing with elite and mass politics and their interconnections.
James D. Wright is an author, educator, and the Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Central Florida. He has written twenty-four books and more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, essays, reviews, and polemics.
Table of ContentsPreface ix
Claiming the Masses: Some Conflicting Portraits 1
The Question of Evidence 51
The Persistence of Traditional Goals and Concerns 109
The Communal Ties 141
Sources of Discontent 181
Work: Satisfactions and Discontents 219
Income: The Instrumental Concern 289
The Larger Concerns 327
Stability and Change: Illusions and Realities 375
Name Index 453
Subject Index 465