Worksheet for "Shadowy Line That Still Divide"
a. In what ways has the country "gone a long way toward an appearance of classlessness"?
b. In what areas has class come to play a greater role in American life over the past 30 years?
c. What is mobility?
d. What does new research on mobility show?
e. How does the concept of mobility relate to the concept of the American dream?
f. How are the "ranks of the elite" different today than in the past?
g. What has "replaced the old system of inherited privilege"? Why is this a paradox?
h. According to a recent New York Times poll on class, how do Americans feel about "their prospects for getting ahead"?
i. According to the poll, what do Americans believe will help them attain a higher status?
j. How do most Americans, according to the poll, feel their standard of living relates to that of their parents?
k. The article states that "one difficulty in talking about class is that the word means different things to different people." What are some of the things it means, according to the article?
l. How do different sociologists and economists view the division of classes?
m. How does the article use an analogy of a hand of cards to explain how to think of a person's position in society?
n. According to the poll, how do Americans view their mobility and class status?
o. Who was possibly "the original exemplar of American social mobility," and why?
p. What did initial mobility studies say, and what do economists say about those studies now?
q. What do the new studies of mobility say?
r. What is the "broad consensus about what an optimal range of mobility is"?
s. How does mobility in the United States rate to that in other countries, and why?
t. The article asks, "Why does it appear that class is fading as a force in American life?" How does it answer that question?
u. How does class relate to political alignment and issues today?
v. How does class relate to religious affiliation today?
w. How does class relate to race today?
x. In what ways is the American elite more diverse today than in the past?
y. How have globalization and technology impacted class?
z. How does educational level come into play when discussing class?
aa. How are class differences in health widening?
bb. How does family structure differ along class lines?
cc. The article asks, "Will the trends that have reinforced class lines while papering over the distinctions persist?" How does it answer that question?
ee. Why does "the idea of fixed class positions, on the other hand, rubs many the wrong way"?
ff. The article ends with a paragraph about optimism. In your own words, what does that paragraph mean? How does optimism relate to the concept of class and social mobility?