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Football Wishes and Fashion Fair Dreams: Class and the Problem of Upward Mobility in Contemporary U.S. Literature and Culture

dc.contributor.advisor Ferraro, Thomas
dc.contributor.author Appel, Sara Elizabeth
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-04T13:15:28Z
dc.date.available 2014-08-25T04:30:04Z
dc.date.issued 2012
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5808
dc.description.abstract <p>Through an analysis of contemporary films, novels, comics, and other popular texts, my dissertation argues that upward class mobility, as the progress narrative through which the American Dream has solidified itself in literary and cultural convention, is based on a false logic of "self-made" individualism. The texts I examine tell a new kind of mobility story: one that openly acknowledges the working-class community interdependence underpinning individuals' ability to rise to their accomplishments. My work spotlights distinctly un-rich communities invested in the welfare of their most vulnerable citizens. It also features goal-oriented individuals who recognize the personal impact of this investment as well as the dignity of poor and working-class people from "heartland" Texas to Lower East Side Manhattan. American-exceptionalist stories no longer ring true with popular audiences faced with diminishing access to economic resources and truly democratic political representation. The growing wealth gap between the corporate elite and everyone else has resulted in a healthy mass skepticism toward simplistic narratives of hard work guaranteeing the comforts of a middle-clas life. The archive I have identified displays a fundamental commitment to the social contract that is perhaps the greatest of U.S. working-class values, offering a hopeful vision of collective accountability to readers and viewers struggling to avoid immobilizing debt, foreclosure, and the unemployment line.</p>
dc.subject American studies
dc.subject American literature
dc.subject Women's studies
dc.subject american dream
dc.subject middle class
dc.subject popular culture
dc.subject poverty
dc.subject upward mobility
dc.subject working class
dc.title Football Wishes and Fashion Fair Dreams: Class and the Problem of Upward Mobility in Contemporary U.S. Literature and Culture
dc.type Dissertation
dc.department Literature
duke.embargo.months 24


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