Social Class on Campus

Theories and Manifestations

March 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    9th March 2011
  • ISBN 9781579225728
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Request Exam Copy
February 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    23rd February 2011
  • ISBN 9781579225711
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Request Exam Copy
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March 2012
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    12th March 2012
  • ISBN 9781579225735
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
March 2012
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    12th March 2012
  • ISBN 9781579225742
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Request E-Exam Copy

This is at once a playful text with a serious purpose: to provide the reader with the theoretical lenses to analyze the dynamics of social class. It will appeal to students, and indeed anyone interested in how class mediates relationships in higher education, both because of its engaging tone, and because it uses the college campus as a microcosm for observing and analyzing the concept of class – and does so in a way that will prompt the reader to reflect on her or his location in the continuum of class, and understand how every member of the campus community helps co-construct social class.

Will Barratt starts from the premise that there is more than one way to study any idea; and that the more tools we use to examine a concept, the more fully we understand it in all its complexity and ambiguity. To illustrate salient features of class on campus, he introduces five fictional European-American women – Whitney Page, Louise, Misty, Ursula, and Eleanor – and also includes the real stories of students who represent a diversity of backgrounds.

Social class is often neglected or ignored as an important issue in the lives of students. The book provides the reader with a language for analyzing class, with theories of class that go beyond standard economic and sociological models, and examples of the manifestation of class – all toward the end of helping the reader have more agency in working with this difficult and challenging concept.

This book is suitable for students going to college for the first time, for courses exploring multicultural issues in contemporary society, and for anyone professionally involved with students. Each chapter includes a suggested experience and reflection questions to prompt readers to explore their thinking and feeling about class, as well as class discussion questions.

"Barratt's research is unique, providing his audience with an opportunity to obtain a broader sense of how social class influences their personal lives."

- Indiana State University Newsroom

"Offers a pedagogical perspective on how class mediates social relations in higher education."

- The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Author Will Barratt successfully breaks class down in a way that allows the reader to observe it through a variety of lenses (education, capital, prestige, etc.) and helps us to understand it in terms beyond just level of income... the information is also organized in a way that allows the reader to single out specific chapters. Questions designed for discussion and reflection are also placed at the close of each chapter. These features make it useful as both a college text and as a challenge to professionals to think more critically. This design gives it a multi-functionality that many texts do not have."

- NACADA Journal (National Academic Advising Association)

About the author


1) A Starting Point
Class is more than money; Class is personal; Class is an intercultural experience; Class is individual perception; Class as a tool; A word about precision
Class as identity; Class as income and wealth; Class as capital; Class as education; Class as prestige; Class as occupation; Class as culture; Class as a system; Class as privilege and oppression; Class as role; Social Class on Campus; Campus majority social class; Class Is More than Money; A Tale of Five Students: Whitney Page, Louise, Misty, Ursula, And Eleanor; Class bubbles; The cast of characters – Whitney Page; The cast of characters - Louise; The cast of characters - Misty; The cast of characters - Ursula; The cast of characters - Eleanor; What will likely happen to these women?; Money, culture, and social class of origin; Social class contrast and fit on campus; Social Class Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

2) Your Experience and Social Class
The Privilege Meme; Where You Start Matters; Starting with boundaries; Starting with individuals; Starting with groups; Starting with politics; Starting somewhere; Where I Start; Historical views of class; Plato and class; Christianity and class; China and class; Hindu class; Native Americans and class4; Mark and Engels on class; Class and Anti-Class; Key Words and Secret Language; In conclusion; Experience; Write a personal classnography; Reflection questions; Discussion questions

3) Class Myths
“Class doesn’t exist in the USA.”; “We are all middle class anyway.”; “The working class is disappearing.”; “Once you get a degree you are no longer working class.”; “Education is the key to upward mobility.”; “College is open to anyone who wants to work hard.” ; “You can’t separate class from ethnicity” ; “All white people are the same.” ; “People talk about class because they don’t want to confront ethnicity and gender”; “Everyone knows about class”; “The world is a meritocracy”; Myth and reality; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

4) The Social Class Identity
Social Class Identity: Development; Social Class Identity: Maturity; Social Class Identity: Transition; Our Three Social Class Identities; Social Class Contrast; Social Class Transition; Managing multiple social class identities; Alternation; Integration; Assimilation; Accommodation; Support for Social Class Transition; Class Passing; Class as Role; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

5) The Majority Class Student Experience of Class on Campus
Choosing how we name classes; Misty Goes to College; So What?; Ursula Goes to College; So What?; Eleanor’s Story; So What?; Marking class on campus; The reproduction of class; College as a confirmation experience: The world of accommodation; Campus Class Markers: Fashion; Campus Class Markers: Language; Campus Class Markers: Social Interaction; Campus Class Markers: Organizational Structure; Campus Class Markers: Leadership; Campus Class Markers: Learning Experiences; Campus Class Markers: The Physical Campus; Class Passing; The monoculture campus; The dangers of being the majority; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

6) The Minority Class Student Experience of Class on Campus
The lower class experience on campus; College as a conversion experience: The world of assimilation; Whitney Page’s Story; So What; Louise’s Story; So What; Deficit model of class: Rising up the under class; Class and minority status as stress; College as an evangelical experience; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

7) The Campus Ecology of Class
The Campus Social Class Human Aggregate; Gender and ethnicity; The average; The Campus Social Class Physical Environment; The meaning of objects; The Campus Social Class Organizational Environment; The Campus Social Class Constructed Environment; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions


8) Class as Income and Wealth
A case study; Classic views of class groups based on income; Naming income classes;
Income as more than income; So what?; Class as wealth; Us and Them: The Middle Income Class and the Other Income Classes; The media fiction wealthy; So what?; Experience; Reflection Question; Discussion Question

9) Class as Capital
Bourdieu on Capital; Embodied cultural capital; Objectified cultural capital; Institutionalized cultural capital; Bourdieu on Social Capital; Other kinds of capital;
Academic Capital; Leadership Capital; Spiritual, Moral, Values, and Ethical Capital; Language Capital; So What - Implications for Campus; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

10) Class as Education
Social Class and the Campus; The Individual Effects of Education; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

11) Class as Prestige
A Prestige Experience; Your prestige class; Cost and prestige; Ranking and Prestige;
Keeping up with the “others”; Prestige and class; Prestige and College; Competition; Prestige in Perspective; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

12) Class as Occupation
Income and Occupational Prestige; Occupational Prestige and Social Dominance;
Occupations and class summary; Experience ; Reflection Questions ; Discussion Questions

13) Class as Culture
Subcultures and Education; Etiquette; Class, culture, and language; Class, culture, and food; Class, culture, and fashion; Cultures in Competition; Student Cultures, Student Typologies; Faculty Cultures, Faculty Typologies; The Reproduction of Culture; Class, Culture, Privilege, and Oppression; Summary; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

14) Class, Ethnicity, and Gender: More complexity
Class and gender; Class and ethnicity; Class, gender, and ethnicity; Experience; Reflection Questions; Discussion Questions

15) Stories
Zach’s Story; Khou’s Story; Christina’s Story; Ken’s Story; Abe’s Story; Discussion Questions

16) What Can Anyone Do?
Things you can do about class; Things you can encourage others on your campus do about class


Will Barratt

Will Barratt has taught in the Departments of Counseling and Educational Leadership at Indiana State University over the past 20 years. He was the Holmstedt Distinguished Professor in the Bayh College of Education in 2006-2007 and was given the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. During 1998-1999 he was Associate Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies before returning to the classroom. He received degrees from Beloit College, Miami University, and The University of Iowa. He lived in Budapest in 1987-1988 and in Beijing in 1995-1996.