Reddit Reddit reviews Class: A Guide Through the American Status System

We found 34 Reddit comments about Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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34 Reddit comments about Class: A Guide Through the American Status System:

u/aeschenkarnos · 48 pointsr/slatestarcodex

Paul Fussell, "Class".

The specific styles of dress etc are somewhat out of date however the underlying principles of human class distinction (primarily, supervision and control vs self-determination) have remained current for the last few thousand years.

Here is a discussion I found that contains a lot of quotes from "Class", and also recommends another book, Michael Lind's "The Next American Nation".

u/un_internaute · 32 pointsr/Futurology

The lower and upper classes have a lot more in common with each other and not with the middle class. It's because both have nothing to lose. For the poor that's literal and for the rich they just can't lose enough for it to matter. It's interesting. For example, both value hunting and sports way more than the middle class. It's just different prey and games.

I recommend Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell.

u/antblazer · 21 pointsr/madmen

I remember in this book they mentioned how the upper class seem to like sailing decor, especially when they are children. I wonder if MM's researchers picked up on this when doing research.

u/elbaivnon · 16 pointsr/worldnews

> Holy fucking hell share you mother fucker

I think I pulled something laughing at that

There's an excellent book called Class: A Guide Through the American Status System that groups it like so:

  • Bottom Out of Sight
  • Destitute
  • Low Prole
  • Mid Prole
  • High Prole
  • Middle Class
  • Upper Middle Class
  • Upper Class
  • Top Out of Sight

    It was written in 1983, so it's a little dit dated (no tech sector, etc), but it's a pretty solid stratification.

    EDIT: shit memory
u/CordovanCorduroys · 12 pointsr/CasualConversation

I don’t think Americans spend anywhere near the amount of time thinking about class that the British do.

To the extent that we think about it at all, it’s more about cultural norms than income. A good book to read about this is Class by Paul Fussell .

u/stares_at_rain · 10 pointsr/coolguides

If you're interested in this, Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell is a great read. It was written some decades back, so you'd think it would be dated, but it really isn't. He holds no punches, so you'll need a bit of thick skin when your class is being discussed. But still, what he says is so true and very funny at times.

u/BoozeMaster · 10 pointsr/lostgeneration

If you are genuinely curious, I recommend this:

It was written in the 80's (by a Harvard PHd if you want cred), so it's a little dated, but still one of the best easily accessable books on the subject. It's a good place to start. He breaks the classes in America down into the following:

Top Out of Sight - The people so wealthy they can afford exclusive levels of privacy. We never hear about them because they don't want us to.

Upper Class - Inherited wealth. Those who don't have to work, but sometimes they go into politics or finance for the prestige value. They refer to tuxes as "dinner jackets."

Upper Middle - Wealthy surgeons and lawyers, etc. Professionals who couldn't be described as middle class.

Middle Class - The great American majority, sort of. Middle managers, desk jockeys, some small business owners, people who don't engage in much manual labor, but are not skilled professionals either. He examines the middle class in great depth.

High Proletarian (or "prole") - Skilled workers but manual labor. Electricians, plumbers, etc. Probably not familiar with the term "proletarian."

Middle Prole - Unskilled manual labor. Waitresses, painters. (In other words, my mom and dad!)

Low Prole - Non-skilled of a lower level than mid prole. I suspect these people ask "Would you like fries with that, sir?" as a career.

Destitute - Working and non-working poor.

Bottom Out of Sight - Street people, the most destitute in society. "Out of sight" because they have no voice, influence or voter impact. (They don't vote.)

He also talks about the "X-Class", which is another way of saying the artist/intellectual class.

But these are social classes, not economic classes. For example, an upper class person could actually have less money than an upper middle class person and still be upper class. I hope that answers some of your question. I would encourage you to do more research into this fascinating and complicated subject.

u/MyrMcCheese · 9 pointsr/books

Then let's at least put the name of the book somewhere.

“Class: A Guide Through the American Status Systems” authored by Paul Fussell.

u/OneRedYear · 6 pointsr/TheRedPill

20 -23 reminds me of a book on my shelf, Paul Fussell's - Class - A Guide Through The American Status System.

It's super dated, but one thing I took away from it is this, the lower and upper class are two sides of the same coin. Uncouth barbarians at heart who both do what they want, while the middle class does what it can to either distance itself from the poor or attempt to become part of the upper class.

If you've read the The Gervais Principle ...

you'd see the hierarchy of Psychopath, clueless and loser play out on a societal scale when you look at class in America. Unfortunately according to The Gervais Principle the Psychopaths tend to jump ship to start a new company or move on once they have rung all they can out of the current company. Guess what they are getting ready to do to our country? Good times bro, good times.

u/Roobomatic · 5 pointsr/AskSocialScience

You would find Paul Fussels book about Class in America interesting:

He breaks upper, middle and lower class down into smaller sub groups based on profession, social standing and education and relates the classes to many behaviors and identifies some of the behaviors origins, like the upper classes affinity for nautical decoration.

The book was written in the 80's, so some of the revelations are a bit dated, but the book is still an enjoyable read - mostly because Paul Fussel is more social commentator than any kind of scientist.

u/tag1555 · 5 pointsr/ukpolitics

Paul Fussell's "Class" is somewhat dated, but falls in the same genre. More anecdotal than academically rigorous in method, but still well worth reading.

u/ImperfectBayesian · 4 pointsr/polandball

>Ahhhhh oh my gosh you 'Muricans really will deep fry anything.

As someone who lives in a city where an honest-to-god socialist sits on the city council it's always funny to hear things like that..

What I mean--if you're a Trump enthusiast, or if you live in a small town, or if you do manual labor, or (perhaps?) live in the South you're probably the sort of person who's likely to a state fair and eat something deep-fried. If you live in a coastal metropolis or work at a tech firm or wouldn't feel out of place in a sport coat the idea of eating a lot of those foods is probably nauseating, not to mention the notion of going to a fair is totally alien.

US social heterogeneity is entrenched and profound but our discourse about it is mostly tacit. Times are weird in America. Dated but relevant.

u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/AskAnAmerican

Class: A guide through the American Status System by Paul Fussell is a good (and humorous) book on the subject. Our American class system is tricky to navigate and is sometimes invisible, but it's definitely there. One of the silliest national lies we keep telling ourselves is that we're a class free society and it's easy to become rich and make money.

u/Donpabloescobar · 4 pointsr/financialindependence

This book has a lot of snark, but it's also very informative. And if you're of a certain cast of mind, as I am, you find the snark hilarious. But even if not, the info is pretty solid:

u/punspinner · 3 pointsr/malefashionadvice

BTW I like this Socratic style thread.

Well, I'm self-employed, which means I tend to have a lot of leeway about what I wear :)

But appropriateness for lifestyle is broader than just wearing what you wear for work. It's about your background, what you spend your time doing, who your friends are and what they wear (can you imagine wearing a suit and tie while always hanging out with friends wearing tshirts? No--you might wear a sweater and button-down but can't push it to its extreme) those practical aspects of not living in an internet fashion vacuum. A lot of it may also come down to social class, that ugly beast we might prefer not to talk about... I recommend

What underlies the reason why I originally posted is more of a gripe with constant consumption at high prices and never feeling satisfied. I dislike the feeling of only buying. Because I find it stupid to always want to cop pieces that just came out, because there will ALWAYS be more new pieces and more new things you want. This might be because I don't have a lot of extra cash and tend to buy almost all my clothing in thrift stores, but I am always looking for older pieces that are either high quality, or interesting, or both.

u/PopularWarfare · 3 pointsr/AskSocialScience

I'm flexible as long as its scholarly. I read this and it was fun, but i'm looking for something more substantial. I've tons about class and power structure in theory but very little applied.

I've been doing a lot of self-reflection lately and realized i know more about social class in other countries than my own and I want to change that.

u/officerkondo · 3 pointsr/PurplePillDebate

Paul Fussell wrote an excellent (and hilarious) book about this in the early 1980s, Class. While the book is dated in a number of respects e.g. the wisecracks about Ronald Reagan's brown suits, much of the book still rings true today.

There are nine classes in three tiers as follows:


  1. Top out-of-sight

  2. Upper

  3. Upper middle


  4. Middle

  5. High prole

  6. Middle prole

  7. Low prole


  8. Destitute

  9. Bottom out-of-sight

    One thing you find out is that whatever class you think you are, you are most likely at least one step below that. For example, think you are UMC? You are probably just middle class or maybe even high prole. My observation from redditors relaying their personal experiences in /r/AskReddit and other subs of general membership is that reddit skews highly prole.

    I hasten to add that money is a small part of class. Class is much more about how you act and comport yourself. For example, legible clothing is prole. Upper class says "black tie", middle class says "tuxedo", prole says "tux". Notably, middle class behavior is largely about imitating how they think the upper class behaves. It is the middle class that makes up swear substitutes like "fiddlesticks!" and "cheese and crackers!" because they think the upper class is too dignified to swear.
u/ghelmstetter · 3 pointsr/IAmA

For a very thorough (and humorous) observational analysis of this and related issues, read Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell. It's a quick, entertaining read, and very eye-opening (though not rigorous academically). It's US-centric... so the relevance to aristocracy in the UK is not a perfect match.

u/thraz · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Its referenced in Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. Its tacky no matter where you place it

u/PuzzlePirate · 2 pointsr/ForeverAlone

> Perhaps I expected too much. I had been led to believe that having a good body was enough to make up for myriad flaws

I'm surprised this doesn't at least get you women showing some interest or first dates.

I'll take a stab at this and say you probably come from the upper class? Maybe went to some expensive private school? If you did, are you still around people of similar background? The point being, those in the upper class have a different culture than those in the middle and those in the middle different from the lower class. If you're spending time, for whatever reason such as job, around those of a different class this can create problems due to cultural clash.

This old book talks about the differences in how the American classes live, if you're interested in finding out more.

u/martoo · 2 pointsr/

Not quite. Middle class is a frame of mind, an attitude toward self and others. See Paul Fussell's book Class for details.

u/ToiletFistMastadon · 2 pointsr/starterpacks

Really, the mistake you are making is thinking that class is thinking that income is how class is solely defined. It is more accurate to describe it through ways of thinking and "taste". Money does drive these differences in culture between classes, but it is not the defining difference. Ever hear the term "New Money"? (Usually as an insult) It is referring to a person who is culturally a lower class but came into upper class levels of money. They tend to be very flashy and gaudy and have no idea how to handle their money.

The upper middle class, culturally, extends quite a bit above what you think of as upper class in terms of incomes. Upper class family are generally not working professionals though some might be (but only because they want to be). They are not the CEOs even, unless they want to be. They are the people with enough money that the interest on their investments alone allow them to live luxuriously. They are the much vaunted capitalists.

Here is a good read on the subject, if a bit tongue in cheek:

u/Agnos · 2 pointsr/politics

Yes, and it is up to us in part to burst their bubble. This book gives an insight (even if dated) Class: A Guide Through the American Status System

u/jaghataikhan · 2 pointsr/slatestarcodex

I'm not done with it yet, and some of it may be outdated, but I'm rather liking Paul Fussell's Class:

u/ccameron · 2 pointsr/socialism

Not socialist by any stretch, yet brutally accurate:Paul Fussell's "Class." Here is that Amazon link but purchase it somewhere else. Better yet, use a library : )

u/Independent · 1 pointr/AskAnAmerican

> It goes with our affectation of a society without class distinctions. Whether we really lack class distinctions is another matter.

Affectation is the right word. I highly recommend Paul Fussell's book Class to any that think the US doesn't have defined and inferred status systems. It gives a funny and irreverent look to the topic of the social classes in the US.

u/thelasian · 1 pointr/LifeProTips

They mostly drive solid older cars, the exception being the Saudi prince types who go around in Lamborghinis etc

>Also, most consultants/lawyers/wealth managers

Indeed, they are newly rich or need to appeal to the newly-rich.

I guess it isn't about wealth per se but whether you're old money or new money. There is a great funny little book about this, the author also points out that your class status is inversely proportional to the amount of writing visible on your clothes

u/goldishblue · 1 pointr/trashy

People go to college, dress well and are on time.

Class is sublime. Class is what makes us "better" than animals. Class is what can't be bought, it has to be earned.

I've read quite a few books on class and they're fascinating, I highly recommend this one also

u/afedupamerican · 1 pointr/AskTrumpSupporters

A lot of what I have to say would be cribbed from Paul Fussell's book Class ( And yes, it does factor into my evaluation of Trump.

One point you miss here is old money does not see itself as leeching money, but rather they are being rewarded handsomely for bringing benefit to all (I'm describing their view of themselves). They see new money like Trump as grubbing and leeching that is beneath them.

u/sarcastic_smartass · 1 pointr/funny

Ah cool, a referral link.

EDIT: Here is the link without the referral tag in case people don't feel like rewarding folks for posting ad links :

Short version: it's a book that has the shocking revelation that people of similar interests coupled with income levels tend to socialize with each other. Pretty revolutionary stuff, if you are into the idea that wearing certain colors makes someone better than someone else.

u/Grampong · 1 pointr/JordanPeterson

The True Believer Eric Hoffer

Class Paul Fussell

u/VulpeculaVincere · 1 pointr/SubredditDrama

The term Gen X comes from Douglas Coupland's novel Generation X which came out in 1991 but was about twenty somethings:

The X in Generation X actually is a reference to Paul Fussell's humorous book about class: Class: A Guide Through the American Status System which claimed there was a category X that stood outside of normal class divisions. We'd call them hipsters now. Coupland pointed out that what Fussell described as a kind of classless bohemianism was actually pretty typical for the entire Gen X generation.

I'm sure all this would seem pretty quaint to millennials, but seemed fairly trenchant when it came out. In any case, you could try to throw the Gen Y kids into the Gen X category, but they are pretty distinct based on the fact that they do generally come from broken homes while the older Gen X'ers do not.

I'll just add that I think we Gen X'ers grew up in a time when many things seemed fixed and immutable, particularly institutions, and it felt like opportunities were incredibly limited because of this. Power was pretty well concentrated in corporate hands, including media power. The Cold War was a fixed and omnipresent part of our childhood. If you read Coupland's book, you'll see a lot of precursors to the current millennial pessimism. We really felt like we didn't have a chance in the economy. Sadly, we were far better off than the millennials as, at the very least, we weren't as a generation saddled with really significant college debt.

I think at least for the Gen Y'ers I know who were admittedly early to the internet there was and is a lot more optimism about opportunity just because the internet was clearly a disruptive force for all the major institutions of my youth. Their entry into the world as adults was coupled with a new set of jobs and a radical remaking of the media landscape. I'm sure that is to some extent locale specific, of course, as it hit the creative coasts first and started having an impact elsewhere later.

u/The_Dinosaur_Club · 0 pointsr/funny

yes. Read "Class" by Paul Fussell.

u/monkeyborg · -2 pointsr/

Assuming you're not a shoplifter, I see two possibilities here.

  1. Given how little of the world's textual matter has found its way to the internet yet, I'm going to guess that reading isn't really your thing. So you buy the New Yorker to display it prominently on your coffee table?

  2. Okay, I admit, that's assuming a lot. Maybe you have a well-worn library card. But you can read the New Yorker at the library, too. So why pay to bring it home, if not to display it prominently on your coffee table?

    In any event, you should know that attempting to win praise through the conspicuous display of the New Yorker is an old trick, written about as early as 1983 by Paul Fussell (sorry, dead-tree only; you may have to drop a dime). Though I doubt Mr. Fussell had the foresight to cover conspicuous name-dropping of the New Yorker in web forums.

    Today's magazine of choice for these purposes - whether for display around the home or "reading" on the metro - is the Economist. Sadly, though, that magazine is also now widely recognized as having a much larger subscriber base than readership.

    There's always the New York Times, I suppose, though I admit that doesn't quite exhibit the air of exclusivity you're looking for.