The Meritocracy Myth

The Meritocracy Myth

Paperback

By (author) Stephen J. McNamee, By (author) Robert K. Miller

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  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Format: Paperback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 232mm x 22mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 30 July 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Lanham, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0742561682
  • ISBN 13: 9780742561687
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Sales rank: 1,026,627

Product description

The Meritocracy Myth challenges the widely held American belief in meritocracy_that people get out of the system what they put into it based on individual merit. Fully revised and updated throughout, the second edition includes compelling new case studies, such as the impact of social and cultural capital in the cases of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and new material on current topics such as the impact of the financial and credit crisis, intergenerational mobility, and the impact of racism and sexism. The Meritocracy Myth examines talent, attitude, work ethic, and character as elements of merit and evaluates the effect of non-merit factors such as social status, race, heritage, and wealth on meritocracy. A compelling book on an often-overlooked topic, the first edition was highly regarded and proved a useful examination of this classic American ideal.

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Author information

Stephen J. McNamee is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Robert K. Miller, Jr. is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Review quote

Every sociology student should read this clear and compelling book, and their instructors should too! The Meritocracy Myth reminds many of us why we became interested in sociology in the first place. And I suspect that many sociology students will soon find the same. -- Ronald C. Wimberley, North Carolina State University The Meritocracy Myth exposes the deceptive American rhetoric that hard work, talent and virtue are all that is necessary to make it to the top. With inequalities at the core of sociology, The Meritocracy Myth makes a valuable contribution to the field by closely examining the contributing mechanisms that perpetuate class disparities. For sociology students, reading The Meritocracy Myth is a great application of important sociological concepts and theories to explain how all of our lives are influenced by socio-economic class arrangements. -- Beth Davison, Appalachian State University Praise for the First Edition: This well-written and researched book on a neglected topic is a must-read. Essential. CHOICE The Meritocracy Myth deconstructs the discourse around the American Dream in a manner that is accessible by, and doesn't talk down to, the typical undergrad. Exceptionally well-written. -- Judi Kessler, Monmouth College

Table of contents

Chapter 1 The American Dream: Origins and Prospects Chapter 2 On Being Made of the Right Stuff: The Case for Merit Chapter 3 The Silver Spoon: Inheritance and the Staggered Start Chapter 4 It's Not What You Know But...: Social and Cultural Capital Chapter 5 Making the Grade: Education and Social Mobility Chapter 6 Being in the Right Place at the Right Time: The Luck Factor Chapter 7 I Did It My Way: the Decline of Self Employment and the Ascent of Corporations Chapter 8 Unlevel Playing Field: Racism and Sexism Chapter 9 Other Ism: Discrimination By Any Other Name Chapter 10 Growing Inequality in the 21st Century