- Title: Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams
- Author: Alfred Lubrano
- ISBN: 9780471263760
- Page: 272
- Format: Hardcover
In Limbo, award winning journalist Alfred Lubrano identifies and describes an overlooked cultural phenomenon the internal conflict within individuals raised in blue collar homes, now living white collar lives These people often find that the values of the working class are not sufficient guidance to navigate the white collar world, where unspoken rules reflect primarilyIn Limbo, award winning journalist Alfred Lubrano identifies and describes an overlooked cultural phenomenon the internal conflict within individuals raised in blue collar homes, now living white collar lives These people often find that the values of the working class are not sufficient guidance to navigate the white collar world, where unspoken rules reflect primarily upper class values Torn between the world they were raised in and the life they aspire too, they hover between worlds, not quite accepted in either Himself the son of a Brooklyn bricklayer, Lubrano informs his account with personal experience and interviews with other professionals living in limbo For millions of Americans, these stories will serve as familiar reminders of the struggles of achieving the American Dream.
Recent Comments "Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams"
We all have moments when we read a work that captures our experience in a deeply moving way. The kinds of works that leaves us shaking ours heads because someone has written what we have felt but hadn't heard someone else say before. Every person I've recommended this to has had the same experience I did. I was grateful to have someone explain the ups and downs of moving from the working class to the professional middle class, of becoming a class "straddler." This isn't a "woe is me" book. It's [...]
I am a first-generation college graduate and a complete mystery to many of my blue-collar relatives. My Mom told people my BS degree stood for "Bull Shit" and that when I achieved my Master's, it was because I was finally a Master of Bull Shit. I have a very loving family, but my college pursuits were perplexing to my family. After I left college and began my career, my income illustrated that maybe all that college stuff was worth something. My 10-years-younger brother now has the benefit of pa [...]
This is one of my favorite books. It is about how individuals deal with their own social mobility in the United States. I wondered why I felt so uneasy after moving to the city and getting a good job after putting myself through college and grad school. Lubrano gives case studies and analyzes the experiences of those people like me who came from modest roots, but got a good education, a little bit of money, and some broader cultural exposure. He writes and I agree that people like this still fee [...]
Lubrano writes, “Social class counts at the office, even though nobody likes to admit it. Ultimately, corporate norms are based on middle- and upper-class values, business types say. From an early age, middle-class people learn how to get along, using diplomacy, nuance, and politics to grab what they need. It is as though they are following a set of rules laid out in a manual that blue-collar families never have the chance to read.”Open expression of anger is verboten in the office workplace [...]
A fascinating look at the class divide from those who have lived in both. Straddlers are born blue collar but through higher education have entered the white collar class. This book explores the pros and cons they face. Although the author admits in the introduction that there are other factors besides education that divide the classes, he chooses to dwell almost solely on that factor. I would have liked to see others as well: joining the army for example.
Lubrano, a journalist from a blue-collar background, argues for the importance of paying attention to how class operates in American society. His particular interest is in what he calls 'Straddlers,' people from blue-collar backgrounds who experience ongoing duality after they cross over into the middle class, which he sees happening through their attending college. It was a broad-brush, largely anecdotal approach, and significantly shaped by the author's own trajectory, so I think it leaves som [...]
I started reading Limbo when a professor who identifies as like the Straddlers explored in Limbo recommended it to help people in a position of privilege at the college begin to understand or at least empathize with a generally misunderstood, alienated, and under-served population. The way she put it, people in the Ivory Tower often avoid the "C" word, class, and Lubrano provides an approachable window into the struggles he explores that are often shared by people raised in blue-collar families [...]
I bet you consider yourself middle class. That's the safe zone which almost everyone in our culture has been told they are a part of. The truth is, class is less about money and more about mindset. Do you go fishing? Have you or anyone in your family ever said, 'You do what you gotta do' or 'it's a rough job but someone's gotta do it'? Do you eat sushi? Do you gamble at casinos? Do you vacation out of the country? Do you dress your children in gender specific clothing? Do you listen to NPR? Do y [...]
I have to say, this book made me think. At times I got impatient with the author's romanticizing working class people. It's fine to say there's a set of values unique to the group - hard work, don't take shit off of anybody, stay close to your family - and that no one always lives up to their group's values all the time. Lubrano lost sight of that nuance in his countless tales of blue collar people behaving nobly and middle class people being worthless weaklings and parasites. He is a fine write [...]
This is a great book for Buffalo kids--you know who you are. Not to mention many of the references are from UB professor Pat Finn and his sidekick Gillian. I had the pleasure of taking 2 course with Gillian in graduate school. This book rang so true on many levels.There are many of us who feel our jobs, compared to our parents and grandparents, don't exactly constitute "work" in the blood, sweat and tears sense. Also, we feel more connected to the waitstaff and grounds crew at the country club t [...]
On the morning after Trump’s shocking victory, I am reminded of this book I read in 2004. Alfred Lubrano does a good job of exploring the confused loyalties and insights that result from having been inside two different cultures. You know how each world can be deeply affirming and you see, better than the life-long natives, the terrible darkness each holds.While I have grown up to be a card-carrying member of Blue America, I still remember the provincial small towns in fly-over country where I [...]
The only downside to this book was that there was never that "in defense of the blue-collar way" section or theme. There was some pride, but mostly the theme was people who moved into white-collar lives were "bettering" themselves. That's the only issue I had with it. Otherwise, it kicked my butt with enlightenment. Things I'd never thought about. All that racism "work" I did in the 90s, we never dealt with issues of class. I may even agree with my friend who considers class a bigger issue than [...]
Interesting exploration of how it feels to be in a class different from the one you were raised in. That visceral sense of not-belonging, the despair of never-will-belong. The longing for the old, familiar class and yet, by education and/or profession, no longer fit there either.On the critical side, the author does not provide as many differing perspectives as surely exist. All the ex-blue-collar folk look upon their white-collar peers with a mixture of envy and mild contempt, seeing them as to [...]
Book helped me understand the duality of class. Jut as the paradigm for race is limited in our American worldview--despite the efforts of the authors at the margins challenging popular conceptions of black versus white and other binaries--this book describes the paradigm of class in a black and white lens, as middle class and working class. So much of who we are is defined by our class and I appreciated the ability to explore this in the anthropological stories and interviews My good friend reco [...]
"Social class counts at the office, even though nobody likes to admit it. Ultimately, corporate norms are based on middle- and upper-class values, business types say. From an early age, middle-class people learn how to get along, using diplomacy, nuance, and politics to grab what they need. It is as though they are following a set of rules laid out in a manual that blue-collar families never have the chance to read" (9). "Ideally, a Straddler becomes bicultural: Understand what made you who you [...]
I read this book with interest as I live in Limbo, although I have so perfected by "straddling" no one suspects it! There is much or Ruby Payne's findings in this bookose who grow up with fewer "opportunities" handed to them do, indeed, spend a lot of their adult lives trying to fit in. I liked the variety of stories shared. I saw myself or others in many of these snippets. Here's to the "Straddlers!" As a teacher, this information helps guide the new generation of straddlers as they head off to [...]
If you grew up in the working class and are currently living a mid-to-upper class life, don't miss this book. (And if you think the USA is a classless societyr sure don't miss this book!) All sorts of things I thought were just personal quirks or problems turn out to have come from being raised in a class I no longer identify with. This book completely changed how I see myself in the world - it's the most significant thing I've read in the past 20 years.
So funny, and so helpful. If you are a first generation college student, this is a MUST READ!!!!!!!!!It was so great to discover that I was not the only person who felt stuck between two worlds, and not a full part of either!
Great content and discussions that resonated well with me. Must detract two stars for the horrendous font style, which gave me headaches and made reading this book many times harder it needed to be.
The book describes the second generation of immigrant kids growing up in labor class families, being the first to go to college or university and getting an office job or a white-collar job - how this affects the psyche, how the relationships between the all grown up children and their parents get all complicated, the same with childhood friends. The same goes to the new friends - again they don't feel quite as one of them. They seem to constantly to live between the two worlds - the hard physic [...]
For the minority that this is relevant to, Limbo is a satisfying anectode. Lubrano targets his audience well. 4 stars because of virtually illegible text type. I've read 2 different copies of the book and struggle to read the format of text Lubrano chose.
This book made me nod so much as I examined my straddler identity. I'd like to see more on this topic with a more intersectional lens (especially as far as gender goes), and to explore what the straddler identity means for the following generation.
I picked this up because I happen to be one of the Straddlers Lubrano is talking about, and I was curious to know both what about my experiences are common among all Straddlers and pieces of advice on navigating the interesting experience of being a Straddler. The book brings to light the often overlooked issue of how changing classes impacts a person’s life, as well as real cultural differences among the blue-collar and white-collar classes in America.Lubrano begins his book by defining blue [...]
Thought-provoking look at "Straddlers" -- people with blue-collar backgrounds who have moved into white-collar worlds -- based on both the author's own experiences and interviews with 100 or so people.Lubrano defines "blue-collar" as working with one's hands and "white-collar" as working with one's mind. This is admittedly a crude definition and reminiscent of David Brooks's stereotype-driven pop sociology, but the book's exploration of the discomfort and alienation experienced by people who str [...]
Strumming my pain with his fingers. This book blows the lid off the myth of American mobility. You may increase your salary with education (though that too is wavering) but you will never speak the language of the privileged. The prep school set is a place where culture supercedes behavior. It doesn't mean you can't get anywhere, or that you won't do better than your parents, or that you are entitled to a chip on your shoulder. But it does mean that Straddlers can let themselves off the hook a b [...]
My older brother recommended that I read this book, which takes on the topic of the socially mobile children of blue collar workers and their conflicting relationship with that mobility. While not a structured account, this book certainly wins a medal in emotion impact. Lubrano and his "Straddlers" discuss a range of topics - all revolving around the same theme - that daily afflict those who have moved out of their "blue collar roots" and into the Middle Class. Ideas which I have had great diffi [...]
This book is absolutely fascinating! 2 problems: It's not well-organized, and totally unfocused. It's about as well-done a book as most (short-form) journalists do. I really wish Lubrano hadn't strictly focused on baby-boomers; many of the people he talks to and about were growing up and having their coming of age college experiences in the 60s and 70s which was a crazy time period in America. I would love to know how things are different for people who are starting or mid career rather than jus [...]
Have been thinking more about this book since writing the somewhat dismissive review below. This book is extremely valuable for demonstrating the substantial downside of what society would generally laud as the quintessential successful life trajectory in America. Clawing your way out your hardscrabble roots into the cushy office job is not just difficult, but can carries longterm emotional punishment, both self-imposed and external.***Lubrano recounts his own and others' experiences as a white [...]
I really liked this book. Lubrano interviewed a lot of white-collar folks who grew up in blue-collar households to attempt to find out if there's anything in their lives that boldly contrasts the experience of their peers growing up in white-collar environments.His findings are quite revealing, and he matches their explanation with a story that explains his personal experience growing up as a bricklayer's son in Brooklyn, feeling out-of-place in school at Columbia and professionally for a good p [...]
Lubrano is spot on about how the study of socioeconomic class dynamics and, specifically, the journey of people moving from one class to another remains rather sparse. It's easy to overlook the isolating social consequences that come with education and career advancement beyond that experienced by one's kin. I very much appreciate Lubrano's thorough reporting on the stories of so many "straddlers". Theirs were tales I really needed to hear, especially following the election of Trump. That being [...]
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