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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Class and the Politics of the Personal in America

  • Author(s): Moodie, Benjamin
  • et al.

This study examines the extent to which class repertoires of everyday personal evaluation translate into political judgments. It compares Michèle Lamont’s accounts (1992, 2000) of class patterns in personal boundary-drawing practices with thematically similar political evaluations recorded in National Election Studies surveys conducted between 1972 and 2004. The evidence suggests that working class people are comparatively likely to translate everyday ethical judgments into policy-related evaluations. In contrast, middle class people are more likely to apply personal judgments to political candidates. In addition, working class people seem more disposed to evaluate policies according to their distributional import, while middle class people are comparatively likely to look to politics as an arena in which individual values can be inculcated.

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