Uneasy Street: Sociology Professor Rachel Sherman’s New Book Tackles the Anxieties of Affluence
Sociologist Rachel Sherman quickly observed a common trait among the wealthy and affluent subjects of her latest book, Uneasy Street: the Anxieties of Affluence. They hated getting specific about money. It is, in the words of one interviewee, “more private than sex.”
In part, Sherman—Associate Professor of Sociology at The New School for Social Research—attributes this reluctance to her subjects’ often-ambivalent relationship to wealth. The 50 New York parents she interviewed over the course of this multi-year study all belong to the top five percent of earners, meaning that they bring in more than $250,000 per year, and the majority are in the top one or two percent. Some benefited from substantial inheritances, which in several cases in excess of $10 million. Sherman chose to focus on people in their 40’s and 50’s who were embarking upon home renovation projects, given that such undertakings provide occasions for intentioned thinking about consumption and lifestyle choices.
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