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Living on the Edge

Paperback By Celine-Marie Pascale
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For the majority of Americans, hard times have long been a way of life. Some work multiple low-wage jobs, others face the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising costs of living. Sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale talked with people across Appalachia, at the Standing Rock and Wind River reservations, and in the bustling city of Oakland, California. Their voices offer a wide range of experiences that complicate dominant national narratives about economic struggles.

Yet Living on the Edge is about more than individual experiences. It’s about a nation in a deep economic and moral crisis. It’s about the long-standing collusion between government and corporations that prioritizes profits over people, over the environment, and over the nation’s well-being. It’s about how racism, sexism, violence, and the pandemic shape daily experience in struggling communities. And, ultimately, it’s a book about hope that lays out a vision for the future as honest as it is ambitious.

Most people in the book are not progressives; none are radicals. They’re hard-working people who know from experience that the current system is unsustainable. Across the country people described the need for a living wage, accessible health care, immigration reform, and free education. Their voices are worth listening to.

Product Details

Format: Paperback, 280 pages Language: English
Dimension: 22.86cm x 14.99cm x 2.54cm ISBN10: 1509548246
Weight: 476g ISBN13: 9781509548248
Publication Date: 14 Sep 2021 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Celine-Marie Pascale is Professor of Sociology at American University, Washington, DC.

Product Reviews


Non-Fiction Runner Up, Weatherford Award of Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association“To read Pascale’s book, to tour the lives of those she calls “the struggling class” … is to come away convinced we live in a rigged game where corporations buy politicians who subsidize those corporations with public money.”Miami Herald"Living on the Edge is a vivid exposé of the horrific poverty faced by the struggling classes in the US, but it's more than that. Pascale elaborates the patterns of domination – banks, corporations, and government – that lead people to adopt desperate but self-defeating strategies of survival. Nothing quite like it since Michael Harrington's The Other America."Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley, and Past President of the American Sociological Association and of the International Sociological Association"Required reading for anyone who wants to understand, in a way that is both supremely accessible and thoroughly researched, the systemic inequalities designed to hold down 'The Struggling Class.

'"Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People's Law Project Co-Director and Lead Counsel“A rare book that combines a humane accounting of lives lived in hardship with a robust and data-driven critique of the policies that caused their dysfunction.”Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia“This is an impressive book, wide and deep, with diverse people around the country struggling to live. A yarn; no, yarns – economic and much more – always real, face-to-face with the author: what their lives are, sometimes doing themselves no favors, but more often the effects of laws and attitudes both far away and near, government and corporations, and the hate of people. Why it's hard to end poverty.

 Living on the Edge reaches in every direction. Personal, powerful: once you pick it up, you won't put it down.”Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and Faculty Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown Law Center“In a trenchant analysis, Celine-Marie Pascale shows how low-income workers’ everyday lives expose a deeply unfair system. A brilliant account of ‘hard-knocks egalitarianism.

’”David B. Grusky, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University“A clarion call for much needed reform if our democracy is to survive the growing disenchantment of a large and growing proportion of the American citizenry, Living on the Edge: When Hard Times Become a Way of Life should be require


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