Preclusion from the "American Dream" Research Paper by HeatherB

Preclusion from the "American Dream"
An analysis of the stratifying function of race, sex and class in the "American Dream".
# 91404 | 2,451 words | 18 sources | MLA | 2006 | US

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This paper explores how the "American Dream," an ideology of individualism, supports the objectives of capitalism by perpetuating social inequalities. To expose the mythical nature of this ideology, it examines how the access to educational and occupational opportunities are linked not to ability or hard work, as the "American Dream" asserts, but rather that social status is a consequence of cultural capital and ascribed characteristics of race, sex,and class. It also explores how specific institutions and policy regulate and impede social mobility, guaranteeing that the white, male, upper-class retains its power and status at the pinnacle of America's stratified society.

From the Paper:

"Understandably, some females, non-whites, and poor people, having internalized the individualist ideology, and blame themselves for their inability to achieve the "American Dream." Others, however, have responded by consciously rejecting the dominant culture's ideals in light of their inaccessibility. Resistance theory, pioneered by Bowles and Gintis, is exemplified by such countercultural behaviors as gangs, criminal activity, and other less violent anti-social activities (MacLeod). In Bettie's ethnography, Women without Class, she describes an instance of such behavior by working-class Latina high school students. Eschewing the dominant culture's idealization of femininity as chaste and demure, these girls embrace teenage motherhood within their peer groups as an alternative to academic endeavors. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ards, Sheila D. and Samuel L. Myers, Jr. 2001. "The Color of Money: Bad Credit, Wealth, and Race." American Behavioral Scientist 45.2: 223-39.
  • Avery, Robert B. and Michael S. Rendall. 2002. "Lifetime Inheritances of Three Generations of Whites and Blacks." American Journal of Sociology 107.5: 1300-46.
  • Bettie, Julie. 2003. Women without Class. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Bose, Christine E. and Rachel Bridges Whaley. 2004. "Sex Segregation in the U.S. Labor Force." Pp. 200-209 in Feminist Frontiers, 6th edition, edited by Laura Richardson, Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2004. "Some Group Matters: Intersectionality, Situated Standpoints, and Black Feminist Thought." Pp. 66-84 in Feminist Frontiers, 6th edition, edited by Laura Richardson, Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Preclusion from the "American Dream" (2006, December 28) Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Preclusion from the "American Dream"" 28 December 2006. Web. 17 April. 2024. <>