Concepts and Implications in Jay Macleod's Ain't No Makin' It Essay

Concepts and Implications in Jay Macleod's Ain't No Makin' It Essay

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Social reproduction is examined closely by Jay Macleod in his book "Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood." His study examines two groups of working class teenage boys residing in Clarendon Heights, a housing project in upstate New York. The Hallway Hangers, a predominately white peer group, and the Brothers, an all African American peer group with the exception of one white member. Through the use of multiple social theories, MacLeod explains social reproduction by examining the lives of these groups as they experience it, being members of the working class in society. These social theories are very important in understanding the ways in which social classes are reproduced.

The achievement ideology is an important concept in understanding the ways that the Hallway Hangers and Brothers experience social reproduction. The achievement ideology is the view that "success is based on merit, and economic inequality is due to differences in ambition and ability. Individuals do not inherit their social status; they attain it on their own" (3). The view is that if one works hard, one can easily attain social advancement. This is not the case, which some of the following theories can help explain when the Hallway Hangers and Brothers are more closely examined.

The theories of Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, Pierre Bourdieu, Basil Bernstein and Shirley Brice Heath represent the deterministic end of the social reproduction perspective. These theories mainly involve school, the ideas of cultural capital, habitus, and linguistic cultural capital and can help explain more in depth how the reproduction of classes continue through generations, and how this reproduction is accepted.

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...te to his individual choice because Super wants to be someone, he wants to make money, which is not possible for him legally because of the structural constraints preventing him from doing so. Super's situation can demonstrate that the individual, cultural, and structural relations are all intertwined in social reproduction, and will continue until something is done.

Preventing poverty and improving the school system can help prevent class reproduction, but Macleod argues that, "what is required is the creation of a truly open society--a society where the life chances of those at the bottom are not radically different from those at the top and where wealth is distributed more equitably" (260). Until structural inequality is eliminated, wealth is more evenly distributed, and discrimination between classes ends, social reproduction will be to well known by society.

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