White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America
Joan C. Williams


Hardback (B401) | Jun 2017 | Harvard Business Review Press | 9781633693784 | 192pp | 210x140mm | Stocked item (plenty) | GEN | AUD$34.99, NZD$42.99


It’s time to understand what so many people don’t get about the Working Class…

Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, the professional elite—journalists, managers, and establishment politicians—is on the outside looking in, and left to argue over the reasons why. In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as “something approaching rock star status” in her field by the New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in assumptions by what she has controversially coined “class cluelessness.”

Williams explains how most analysts, and the corresponding media coverage, have conflated “working class” with “poor.” All too often, white working class motivations have been dismissed as simply racism or xenophobia. Williams explains how the term “working class” has been misapplied—it is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. This demographic often resents both the poor and the professionals. They don’t, however, tend to resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities—just with more money.

White Working Class is a blunt, bracing narrative that sketches a nuanced portrait of millions of people throughout the world who have proven to be a potent political force. For anyone stunned by the rise in populist, nationalist movements, wondering why so many would seemingly vote against their own economic interests or simply feeling like a stranger in their own country, White Working Class will be a convincing primer on how to connect with a crucial set of workers—and voters.