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The Culture of Contentment$
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John Kenneth Galbraith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171654

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171654.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2022

The Functional Underclass

The Functional Underclass

(p.24) Chapter 3 The Functional Underclass
The Culture of Contentment

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the nature and services of the so-called functional underclass. The underclass refers to individuals and families that do not share the comfortable well-being of the prototypical American. These people are concentrated in the centers of the great cities or, less visibly, on deprived farms, as rural migrant labor or in erstwhile mining communities. The underclass is deeply functional; all industrial countries have one in greater or lesser measure and in one form or another. The chapter first examines how the need to keep some part of the underclass in continued and deferential subjection is resolved in Western Europe before focusing on immigrants belonging to the functional underclass. It also explores the role of the functional underclass in capitalism, resentment and social unrest among those in the functional underclass, and the continuing threat of underclass social disorder, crime and conflict in the inner cities of the United States.

Keywords:   functional underclass, Western Europe, immigrants, capitalism, resentment, social unrest, social disorder, crime, inner cities, United States

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