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Women without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity
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Women without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  272 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In this examination of white and Mexican-American girls coming of age in California's Central Valley, Julie Bettie turns class theory on its head and offers new tools for understanding the ways in which class identity is constructed and, at times, fails to be constructed in relationship to color, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Documenting the categories of subculture an ...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published January 21st 2003 by University of California Press (first published December 2nd 2002)
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Preston Palmer
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An excellent ethnography. Finally someone who wants to look at the issues of gender, class, and race in a paradoxical and pragmatic way. Every step along the way, Bettie refuses to look at things in dualistic terms. Her explanation of culture as performance and performative will definitely shape the way I look at people of all cultures, and the way I study sociology.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible ethnography. Such careful attention to the too often ignored intersectionality of gender, race, and class. As well, the author's attention to her own positionality and bias is refreshing and should be a model for all qualitative researchers.
Alejandra Castro
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although the idea of intersectionality has become popular in feminist theory, many people tend to focus too much attention on the relationship between gender and race. In this ethnographic study Julie Bettie attempts to look at how young girls understand racial and class differences, emphasizing how class has just as much effect as race does although the latter more often comes to the forefront. Bettie conducts her research at a California Central Valley high school, focusing on young lower/work ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really good ethnographic study, looking very closely at issues of class in the US. I would recommend it to anyone interested in ethnographic research methodology, socioeconomic class as a factor in education, US education policies.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent analysis and study of the intersection of class, race, and gender. Its focus on highschool girls makes this a great read for girls' studies scholars - especially because so much of the scholarship renders class invisible. Because the content is so important, I would have liked for the language (especially the forward) to be more accessible to a non-academic audience, but it's a great "must read" overall.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
ED161: Sociology and Anthropology of the School. Being 8 years out from my own high school experience gave me space to consider tracking, social/racial dynamics, and other issues that I didn't consider much at the time. Bettie's concept application of "moral panics" to concerns about youth culture (particularly gangs and teen pregnancy) was particularly helpful.
One of the best examinations of intersectionality around, including a truly impressive deconstruction of the ways class differences manifest themselves culturally (in addition to the more highly visible and easily essentialized gender and race).

My one complaint is that Bettie failed to do much problematizing of gendered presentations of self.
Kayla Perry
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: textbook
Read this for my Women of Color Feminism class and found it decent. I really struggled with the jargon of the second chapter (academic theory, yeesh!) but beyond that I was able to follow along fairly easily. While an interesting study it had its shortcomings and showed its age at times. Overall, okay.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a great read about how class, race, and identity affect young Mexican-American and White girls attending high schools in the Central Valley (California). I would highly recommend this book if you are interested in sociological issues, or even anthropological issues (such as gender).
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
An intriguing look at how class and race affect "upward mobility" for women
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very cool book. Entertaining to read, and heavy theory.
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great ethnographic study of social class among girls in a California high school. Reminiscent of Paul Willis' study of working class lads in England in 'Learning to Labor.'
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
bettie's book was disappointing. not rigorous in its analysis of racial formation(s) and also still stuck in classic (and boring) problems of ethnography and ethnographic method. boo.
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