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Women of the Upper Class

Susan Ostrander

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: Temple University Press

Cover Art

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Front Matter

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pp. i-vi


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pp. viii

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pp. ix-x

The person who has been most intimately involved in the preparation of the final draft of this book is the series editor, Ronnie Steinberg. Her warm support, wisdom, and force of intellect have greatly improved this work. I am immensely...

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1. Introduction: The Upper-Class Woman

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pp. 3-20

Contrary to popular belief, the life of the upper-class woman is not all champagne and roses, trips to Paris and Palm Beach. The upper-class woman is also not very interested in high fashion, nor is she a jet-setting party-goer. Her days are...

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2. The Meaning of Upper Class

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pp. 21-36

In social science literature and in popular belief, it is often suggested that socioeconomic class is of little interest or importance to people in everyday life in the United States. Studies of class consciousness often conclude that they are not particularly aware of the importance of class position, nor do they live or define their lives within ...

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3. Wife

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pp. 37-69

They could be traditional wives anywhere. They could be sitting in working class bungalows, cramped city apartments, or suburban tract houses. But they aren't. The first woman, Mrs. Smythe, is described in Chapter 1. She arrived late for our interview, coming from a luncheon for the Friends of the Metropolitan....

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4. Mother

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pp. 70-96

Upper-class children are taught early that they are different from children of other socioeconomic classes. They learn that they have special talents and special responsibilities. Their association with children from other classes is limited, their individual abilities are nurtured, and their social responsibilities...

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5. Club Member

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pp. 97-110

The previous chapter examined the role of exclusive social organizations and activities for upper class children. This chapter concentrates on the major exclusive organization for the adults-the upper-class club. Virtually everyone who...

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6. Community Volunteer

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pp. 111-139

Mrs. Eton offers a typical description of community volunteer work in the lives of upper-class women: it is personally satisfying; it is a family tradition; it is a...

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7. Tensions and Contradictions

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pp. 140-154

I have sought to demonstrate how upper-class women perform work that is necessary to maintain their class. Work is broadly defined here as activities that contribute in some way to the economic life of society. The work done by upper-class women is largely invisible: that is, it is unpaid...

Appendixes Notes Bibliography

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pp. 155-159

Appendix B. Interview Guides

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pp. 160-166


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pp. 167-174


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pp. 175-183

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905371

Publication Year: 2010