By C. Zmroczek
This article specializes in the idea of sophistication because it pertains to girls. It debates questions corresponding to: how do girls outline themselves by way of social category and why?; is definition vital or not?; what half does schooling play in our figuring out of class?; and the way does category have an effect on relationships?
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Extra resources for Class Matters: Working Class Women's Perspectives On Social Class (Women and Class Series)
Books Books have been my friends. Without books I would not be here. But books can also be used as barricades. It is true that words have helped me escape. I can pick up a pen and write my way out of poverty—literally. But language is an unreliable ally, evasive, suspicious, slippery. At what cost have I bought these words, exchanging one voice for another, slipping accents and identities on and off like second-hand coats until nothing in my wardrobe seems to fit? To begin with, I used books to construct literary photofits of self.
In spite of my aim of painting an ambivalent, tentative picture highlighting complexities of interpretation and motivation, he is the hero of my fantasy of community; this man who never really belonged to the community he valorized. Community is about the need to belong. My mother did not have a community to belong to either. She did have a large extended family. There is not the same sense of nobility and dignity in identifying with my female antecedents; both paternal and maternal grandmothers were maids or cleaners.
This is not to be cynical but to acknowledge that academia is primarily a self-seeking culture premised on competition where class is often conscripted as a means to academic career promotion. As bell hooks points out, When those of us in the academy who are working-class or from workingclass backgrounds share our perspectives, we subvert the tendency to focus only on the thoughts, attitudes and experiences of those who are materially privileged. (hooks, 1994, p. 185) There have to be better ways of writing about class in academia.