Working Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty

September 8th, 2013
It used to be that we had a somewhat standard expectations as to what it means to be a grown up.  It they weren’t norms really, at least they were a general set of expectations:  College, marriage, a house, a car, kids...all the accouterments of the American dream.  

It’s interesting, that even amid the turmoil and social and cultural transitions of the 60’s and 70’s, these stars remained pretty fixed in our imagination.

Yet the broader economic transitions of globalization, economic disparity and deindustrialization, have had a far greater impact.  One that has tilted these expectation off their axis and may be creating a generation where coming of age, where adulthood, means something entirely different. In fact, it may be the entirety of the reason for the stagnation of the middle-class. 

Jennifer Silva, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, take a look at what's happening in Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty.

My conversation with Jennifer Silva: