Making Sense of Race, Class, and Gender:

Commonsense, Power, and Privilege in the United States


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.

Buy the book:


"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