Ambivalence About Equality in the United States or, Did Tocqueville Get it Wrong and Why Does that Matter?
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CitationHochschild, Jennifer L. 2006. Ambivalence about equality in the United States or, did Tocqueville get it wrong and why does that matter? Social Justice Research 19(1): 43-62.
AbstractAlexis de Tocqueville believed that “democratic peoples’... passion for equality is ardent, insatiable, eternal, and invincible.” This article examines whether and under what conditions residents of the United States demonstrate such a commitment to equality. I show that at many points in history, Americans have indeed chosen to move toward greater justice and less oppression; however, there are clear limits to their passion for equality. White Americans endorse less social, political, and economic equality than do African Americans, but even the latter often resist equality for groups that they perceive to be threats, or for behaviors that threaten strong social or moral norms. The article discusses implications for political activists of these patterns of support for and resistance to greater equality, and suggests strategies for overcoming oppression and promoting justice.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3425915
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