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American Misfits and the Making of Middle-Class Respectability$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176864

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176864.001.0001

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A Relational Approach

A Relational Approach

The Social Construction of Respect and Respectability

(p.19) Chapter One A Relational Approach
American Misfits and the Making of Middle-Class Respectability

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

Respect and respectability are topics of continuing interest because privileges and resources flow so often to those deemed respectable, while disrespect goes hand in hand with disadvantage and discrimination. This chapter examines the relationality of respect and respectability at four levels that bring to focus distinct aspects of social life: practices, discourse, organizational arrangements, and machineries of enforcement. The boundary work involved in drawing distinctions between the “us” that manifests respectability in various ways and the “them” that perhaps even more clearly demonstrates what respectability is by its absence is best understood through the multiple lenses that these aspects of social life illuminate.

Keywords:   respect, respectability, social life, American middle class, nineteenth century

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