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Part 2:The Power Elite: Local Society,and The Metropolitan 400

Posted By: oldmaninthedesert
Date: Friday, 14-December-2018 17:44:37


Continuing with Mills work,The Power Elite,these chapters deal with local society,and then up into the bigger cities.The one thing that stands out to me as it effects us here in 2018,is the authors constant reminder that the 'new' money,is constantly charging forward,the old trying to hold it's ground.After reading these 2 chapters and looking around whats gone down over the last 40 years,sure seems that this new money does not appear to be worried about appearance,like the old....

[....Class consciousness is not equally characteristic of all levels of American society: it is most apparent in the upper class. Among the underlying population everywhere in America there is much confusion and blurring of the lines of demarcation, of the status value of clothing and houses, of the ways of money-making and of money-spending. The people of the lower and middle classes are of course differentiated by the values, things, and experiences to which differing amounts of income lead, but often they are aware neither of these values nor of their class bases.

Those of the upper strata, on the other hand, if only because they are fewer in number, are able with much more ease to know more about one another, to maintain among themselves a common tradition, and thus to be conscious of their own land. They have the money and the time required to uphold their common standards. A propertied class, they are also a more or less distinct set of people who, mingling with one another, form compact circles with common claims to recognition as the leading families of their cities.

Examining the small city, both the novelist and the sociologist have felt most clearly the drama of the old and the new upper classes. The struggle for status which they have observed going on in these towns may be seen on a historic scale in the modern course of the whole of Western Society; for centuries the parvenues and snobs of new upper classes have stood in tension with the 'old guard.' There are, of course, regional variations but across the country the small-town rich are surprisingly standardized. In these cities today, two types of upper classes prevail, one composed of rentier and socially older families, the other of newer families which, economically and socially, are of a more entrepreneurial type. Members of these two top classes understand the several distinctions between them, although each has its own particular view of them.....

......The one deep experience that distinguishes the social rich from the merely rich and those below is their schooling, and with it, all the associations, the sense and sensibility, to which this educational routine leads throughout their lives. The daughter of an old upper-class New York family, for example, is usually under the care of nurse and mother until she is four years of age, after which she is under the daily care of a governess who often speaks French as well as English. When she is six or seven, she goes to a private day school, perhaps Miss Chapin's or Brearley. She is often driven to and from school by the family chauffeur and in the afternoons, after school, she is in the general care of the governess, who now spends most of her time with the younger children. When she is about fourteen she goes to boarding school, perhaps to St. Timothy's in Maryland or Miss Porter's or Westover in Connecticut. Then she may attend Finch Junior College of New York City and thus be 'finished,' or if she is to attend college proper, she will be enrolled, along with many plain middle-class girls, in Bryn Mawr or Vassar or Wellesley or Smith or Bennington. She will marry soon after finishing school or college, and presumably begin to guide her own children through the same educational sequence...

https://exploringrealhistory.blogspot.com/2018/12/part-2the-power-elite-local-societyand.html


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