New Twists in an Old Wound

New Twists in an Old Wound

The Hidden Injuries of Class, by Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 257 pp.

The Hidden Injuries of Class reveals the worker once again as victim of the system rather than beneficiary, but in terms that owe more to the Movement criteria of the late 1960s than to the continuing realities of the industrial world. Probing beneath the lingering hardhat stereotype, the book is devoted in the main to extrapolation from interviews—conducted under a Ford Foundation grant—with residents of Boston’s ethnic ghettos and their children in suburbia. From this the interviewees emerge as neither hairy apes nor ineffable little guys nor data printouts but as full-scale personalities in the grip of contrary drives. The writing is Sennett’s and the emphasis is his, save for an all-too-brief afterword by Cobb who differs from Sennett in the lessons he draws from their researches.


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