Featured Books – WCSA Conference 2022

Books featured at our 2022 conference can be purchased as ebooks by following the links below.

Bridging the Divide: Working-Class Culture in a Middle-Class Society

In Bridging the Divide, Jack Metzgar attempts to determine the differences between working-class and middle-class cultures in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of multidisciplinary sources, Metzgar writes as a now middle-class professional with a working-class upbringing, explaining the various ways the two cultures conflict and complement each other, illustrated by his own lived experiences.

Set in a historical framework that reflects on how both class cultures developed, adapted, and survived through decades of historical circumstances, Metzgar challenges professional middle-class views of both the working-class and themselves. In the end, he argues for the creation of a cross-class coalition of what he calls “standard-issue professionals” with both hard-living and settled-living working people and outlines some policies that could help promote such a unification if the two groups had a better understanding of their differences and how to use those differences to their advantage.

Bridging the Divide mixes personal stories and theoretical concepts to give us a compelling look inside the current complex position of the working-class in American culture and a view of what it could be in the future.

Routledge International Handbook of Working-Class Studies

The Routledge International Handbook of Working-Class Studies by Michele Fazio, ‎Christie Launius, and ‎Tim Strangleman is a timely volume that provides an overview of this interdisciplinary field that emerged in the 1990s in the context of deindustrialization, the rise of the service economy, and economic and cultural globalization. The Handbook brings together scholars, teachers, activists, and organizers from across three continents to focus on the study of working-class peoples, cultures, and politics in all their complexity and diversity.  

The Handbook maps the current state of the field and presents a visionary agenda for future research by mingling the voices and perspectives of founding and emerging scholars. In addition to a framing Introduction and Conclusion written by the co-editors, the volume is divided into six sections: Methods and principles of research in working-class studies; Class and education; Work and community; Working-class cultures; Representations; and Activism and collective action. Each of the six sections opens with an overview that synthesizes research in the area and briefly summarizes each of the chapters in the section.

Throughout the volume, contributors from various disciplines explore the ways in which experiences and understandings of class have shifted rapidly as a result of economic and cultural globalization, social and political changes, and global financial crises of the past two decades. Written in a clear and accessible style, the Handbook is a comprehensive interdisciplinary anthology for this young but maturing field, foregrounding transnational and intersectional perspectives on working-class people and issues and focusing on teaching and activism in addition to scholarly research. It is a valuable resource for activists, as well as working-class studies researchers and teachers across the social sciences, arts, and humanities, and it can also be used as a textbook for advanced undergraduate or graduate courses.