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The Hidden Injuries of Class

Sennett, Richard; Cobb, Jonathon
Publisher:  Random House
Year Published:  1972   First Published:  1966
Pages:  275pp   ISBN:  0-394-46212-2
Library of Congress Number:  HD8072.s487   Dewey:  301.44'42'0973
Resource Type:  Book

Sennett and Cobb look at human relations between people of different classes and analyze everyday life and ordinary situations to identify class signals that make people feel inadequate.

Abstract:  "It's not what you are, but what you do." This is the notion that Sennett and Cobb oppose in The Hidden Injuries of Class. They analyze everyday life and ordinary situations to identify class signals that make people feel inadequate. Their book looks at human relations between people of different classes. It is a sociological description of class conflict that focuses on how workers feel when addressing their bosses, and how individuals feel when dealing with people in a higher standing. The conclusion advocates the end of judgement based on success in the most desirable jobs and materialistic factors.

Along with an introduction and a conclusion, there are two parts to the book: The Sources of Injury, and Dreams and Defences. Sources of Injury claims that, "dignity is as compelling a human need as food or sex," while Dreams and Defences discusses how the psyche defends itself from society in one of two ways: alienation or dream-chasing. The freedom to live as one desires and to pursue goals that are more prestigious is appealing enough to ward off the judgements of the upper class. "If I let the dream of a common dignity grow strong in me, then I want the barriers of privilege removed so that I can develop this potential." In the conclusion it is established that the remaining hierarchy in society and the scales by which we judge ourselves and others will result in revolution unless we achieve true egalitarianism through dignity for all.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents

Personal Acknowledgements

Introduction Hidden Injuries

Part One The Sources of Injury
Badges of Ability
Sacrifice and Betrayal
The Uses of Injured Dignity

Part Two Dreams and Defense
The Divided Shelf

Conclusion A Flawed Humanism

Afterword, by Jonathan Cobb
Related Writings of Interest


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