Class, Cognition, and Face-to-Face Interaction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social class—one's relative socioeconomic rank in society—plays a vital role in shaping individuals' future educational and occupational attainment, job satisfaction, and overall mental and physical well-being. Although sociologists have studied macrolevel aspects of class formation and reproduction for over a century, how class distinctions are produced and reproduced on the ground in everyday social interactions has received far less empirical attention. Like other forms of stratification, class inequalities are driven not only by differential access to material resources but also how we fundamentally perceive ourselves, others, and appropriate behavior. Yet, the social sciences have yet to develop a clear and convincing theory of the microdynamics of social class. In this essay, I integrate contemporary research across disciplines to illuminate how social perception and interaction shape and are shaped by social class. I review classical and cutting-edge research on the microdimensions of social class, discuss outstanding issues, and highlight promising directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEmerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource
EditorsRobert A. Scott, Stephen M. Kosslyn
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781118900772
ISBN (Print)9781452216454
StatePublished - 2015


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