Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison, "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged" (Policy Press, 2019)


Who gets in to top professions? In The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be privileged (Policy Press, 2019), Drs Sam Friedman, an associate professor of sociology at LSE, and Daniel Laurison, an assistant professor of sociology at Swarthmore College, explore the dominance of social elites in top professions. The book draws on theories of social mobility and the work of Pierre Bourdieu to explain how top professions are highly exclusive, with under representations of women, ethnic minorities, and those from working class backgrounds. Moreover, even when individuals from these demographics do enter top jobs such as law, medicine, and accountancy, along with media occupations and acting, they suffer gaps in pay because of their class, race, and gender. The intersection of these demographics is crucial to the analysis, and the book uses detailed qualitative research to explain this 'class ceiling', showing how economic, cultural, and social capital play out to account for how inequality is replicated in the workplace and beyond. The book is essential reading for everyone interested in contemporary social inequality.

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Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Manchester.

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