Alexandria Digital Research Library

In transition : white and out of work in a middle class suburb

Author:
Alfrey, Lauren Muriel
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Sociology
Degree Supervisor:
France Winddance Twine
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2016
Issued Date:
2016
Topics:
Gender studies and Sociology
Keywords:
Unemployment
Middle class
Downward mobility
Job loss
Whiteness
Gender
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016
Description:

Sociologists have not adequately addressed the subject of downward mobility for suburban Whites. Decades after the postwar rise of a suburban class, and in the wake of the Great Recession, such research is needed. This dissertation offers an empirical case study that documents how unemployed suburban professionals manage job loss. It is guided by the following questions: What does it mean to be White, white-collar, and unemployed? How do suburban Whites negotiate the stigma of unemployment? What strategies and tactics do they use to find paid work again? Drawing upon 50 interviews with job seekers and resource providers at church ministries and private networking groups, as well as participant observation in these spaces, I find that suburban Whites struggled in particular ways with job loss. I discuss how unemployment impacted the gendered identities of men and women in my sample, including the limits of certain gender normative coping strategies. I also identify three variations of a personal responsibility discourse that circulated among the resource providers studied. Borrowing a term from my participants, I refer to their job loss as a "transition." As a frame that maintains middle class respectability, transition illustrates the consciousness of once privileged workers reacting to new economic conditions. I examine the meaning of this concept in the context of neo-liberal disinvestment that has now touched the lives of affluent Whites.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (194 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f3v69jpm
ISBN:
9781369147087
Catalog System Number:
990046967930203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Lauren Alfrey
Access: This item is restricted to on-campus access only. Please check our FAQs or contact UCSB Library staff if you need additional assistance.