Two years before the pandemic, polls reported that between 65% and 80% of the U.S. population was living paycheck to paycheck. For the majority of Americans, hard times long have long been a way of life. Some work multiple low-wage jobs, others face the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising costs of living. What does daily life look in economically stressed communities? I talked with people across Appalachia, at Standing Rock and Wind River Reservations and in the bustling city of Oakland, California. Their voices offer a wide range of experiences that complicate dominant national narratives about economic struggles.
Yet Living on the Edge is about more than individual experiences. It’s about a nation in a deep economic and moral crisis. It’s about the long-standing collusion between government and corporations that prioritizes profits over people, over the environment, and over the nation’s well-being. It’s about how racism, sexism, violence and the pandemic shape daily experience in struggling communities. And ultimately, it is a book about hope that lays out a vision for the future as honest as it is ambitious. Most people in the book are not progressives; none are radicals. They’re hard-working people who know from experience that the current system is unsustainable. Across the country people described the need for a living wage, accessible health care, immigration reform, and free education. Their voices make a timely and important contribution to national conversations on inequality. Forthcoming from Polity in 2021.
In a global landscape, the representational practices through which inequalities gain meaning are central- both within and across national boundaries. The collection de-centers North American/European paradigms by placing scholarship from countries around the globe on equal footing.
Readers will find a variety of analytical styles including frame analysis, semiotics, poststructural discourse analysis, critical discourse studies, and conversation analysis. Each chapter provides an overview of relevant cultural and historical contexts for an international audience as well as a brief introduction to relevant methodological and theoretical frameworks.
“If anyone ever doubted the power of language to make the most egregious inequalities acceptable, natural, even ordinary, then they should read Pascale’s magisterial book, whose fascinating case studies cover the globe. She projects the politics of representation as a critical field that cuts across disciplines and defines new, exciting directions for Sociology.” —Michael Burawoy, University Professor, University of California, Berkeley, and President of the International Sociology Association.
“This splendid collection will give English-language readers vivid pictures of the way inequalities work across difference continents, cultures and situations. This is the kind of scholarship we urgently need to transform our knowledge, and help transform our world.”—Raewyn Connell, University Professor, Sydney University
“The book makes substantial contributions to the fields of Sociology and Cultural Studies and broadly in the domain of theoretically informed empirical research.”—Anirban Das, Fellow in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Using clear language and concrete examples, this text examines theoretical and historical foundations that shape the premise and logic of qualitative social research. It analyzes qualitative methodology and methods in relationship to issues of agency, subjectivity, and experience. Rooted to feminist, critical race, and post-structural literature, it is concerned with social justice as it critiques current research paradigms and advances broad alternatives.
Winner, Distinguished Book Award from the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry for “charting new territories.”
“In this foundational tome, Professor Celine-Marie Pascale critiques methodology in relationship to specific qualitative methods and argues cogently that despite good intentions, most of this research is still tethered to the Cartesian paradigm thus limiting its emancipatory potential. This is an impressive book that will likely become a classic!” ― Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke University, co-author with Tukufu Zuberi, White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology
Using arresting case studies of how ordinary people understand the concepts of race, class, and gender, Celine-Marie Pascale shows that the peculiarity of commonsense is that it imposes obviousness-that which we cannot fail to recognize. As a result, how we negotiate the challenges of inequality in the twenty-first century may depend less on what people consciously think about “difference” and more on what we inadvertently assume. Through an analysis of commonsense knowledge, Pascale expertly provides new insights into familiar topics. In addition, by analyzing local practices in the context of established cultural discourses, Pascale shows how the weight of history bears on the present moment, both enabling and constraining possibilities. Pascale tests the boundaries of sociological knowledge and offers new avenues for conceptualizing social change.
Winner, Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Race, Class, and Gender for “a distinguished and significant contribution to the development of the integrative field of race, gender, and class.”
“Pascale provides us with a superb, innovative study of the ways in which ordinary people make sense of race, class, gender and sexuality in their everyday lives. Pascale’s most courageous innovation is to place sociological, ethnographic, and postmodern discursive analysis in conversation with each other, and as tools for analysis, crossing traditionally fixed disciplinary boundaries. This is an eminently readable text in which theory is made clear, and accessible, and in which ordinary people speak for themselves.” —Bettina Aptheker, Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
“Making Sense of Race, Class, and Gender offers an articulate analysis of some of the most important commonsense structures of everyday life, developing a sociology of language and representation that attends to both local interactional and widely-shared discursive formations. Scholars of social stratification, inequality and social psychology should read this book.”—James A. Holstein, Marquette University