Class Unknown

Class Unknown

Undercover Investigations of American Work and Poverty from the Progressive Era to the Present

Culture, Labor, History

by Mark Pittenger

Published by: NYU Press

288 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780814767412
  • Published: August 2012


  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780814767405
  • Published: August 2012



2013 Notable Title in American Intellectual History from the Society for U.S. Intellectual History

Since the Gilded Age, social scientists, middle-class reformers, and writers have left the comforts of their offices to "pass" as steel workers, coal miners, assembly-line laborers, waitresses, hoboes, and other working and poor people in an attempt to gain a fuller and more authentic understanding of the lives of the working class and the poor. In this first, sweeping study of undercover investigations of work and poverty in America, award-winning historian Mark Pittenger examines how intellectuals were shaped by their experiences with the poor, and how despite their sympathy toward working-class people, they unintentionally helped to develop the contemporary concept of a degraded and "other" American underclass.
While contributing to our understanding of the history of American social
thought, Class Unknown offers a new perspective on contemporary debates over how we understand and represent our own society and its class divisions.