The Meritocracy Myth

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Jul 18, 2013 - Social Science - 264 pages
The Meritocracy Myth challenges the widely held American belief in meritocracy—that people get out of the system what they put into it based on individual merit. The third edition has been revised and streamlined, with fresh examples and updated statistical information throughout. Chapters eight and nine have been combined into a comprehensive chapter about discrimination as a non-merit barrier to upward mobility. The book also features a new section on “The Great Recession.”

The Meritocracy Myth examines talent, attitude, work ethic, and character as elements of merit, and evaluates the effect of non-merit factors such as social status, race, heritage, and wealth on meritocracy. A compelling book on an often-overlooked topic, The Meritocracy Myth has become a classroom classic to introduce students to this provocative topic.

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User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

Straight-forward, detailed, cited. Perfect reminder of the various influences in American society that are so often invisible. Read full review


1 The American Dream
2 On Being Made of the Right Stuff
3 The Silver Spoon
4 Its Not What You Know But
5 Making the Grade
6 Being in the Right Place at the Right Time
7 I Did It My Way
8 An Unlevel Playing Field
9 Growing Inequality in the TwentyFirst Century
About the Authors

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About the author (2013)

Stephen J. McNamee is interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is the recipient of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, The University of North Carolina Wilmington Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, and the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors Teaching Award.

Robert K. Miller, Jr. (1948–2015) was professor emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He published widely on the topic of social and economic inequality and was coeditor with Stephen J. McNamee of Inheritance and Wealth in America.

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