Title

The independent and joint effects of race and social class: An analysis of racially-specific and racially-neutral causal attributions and support for redistributive policy

Date of Award

2005

Availability

Article

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Sociology

First Committee Member

George Wilson, Committee Chair

Abstract

This dissertation analyzes data from the 1993, 1996, and 1998 General Social Survey's (GSS) in examining the independent and joint effects of race and social class in structuring two domains of stratification ideology: causal attributions about the sources of socioeconomic attainment and support for redistributive policies that redress socioeconomic disparities. The merits of two competing theories of race, class, and stratification ideology are assessed: the class (re)alignment perspective and the theory of group interest. The class (re)alignment perspective emphasizes location in the class structure as the preeminent factor influencing the structure of stratification ideology. Conversely, the theory of group interest emphasizes racial group membership as the preeminent factor influencing the structure of stratification ideology. This aim is accomplished through the analysis of racially-specific (i.e., items that specifically mention blacks) and racially-neutral (i.e., items that do not specifically mention blacks) causal attributions and support for redistributive policy. These dependent variables are regressed on five categories of independent variables: (1) racial group membership, (2) socioeconomic indicators, (3) political views, (4) sociodemographic characteristics, and (5) race/class interaction effects. The results of this dissertation provide substantial support for a revised theory of group interest. Race more consistently predicts causal attributions about the sources of socioeconomic attainment and support for redistributive policies than do analyzed measures of social class.This dissertation furthers our understanding of the interplay between race, class, and stratification ideology. Despite the increased attention turned toward this line of research, its unique contributions build on the limitations in prior research in four ways. Specifically, it: (1) examines causal attributions and support for redistributive policy within the framework of the debate over race and class. This dissertation also (2) compares and contrasts racially-specific and racially-neutral individualistic and structural causal attributions about the sources of socioeconomic attainment, as well as (3) examines support for racially-specific and racially-neutral opportunity-enhancing and outcome-based policies that redress socioeconomic disparities. Finally, and most importantly, this dissertation examines a broader range of outcomes than previous research in racial attitudes. This approach permits for (4) determining where and why black and white racial attitudes reach agreement or remain at odds.

Keywords

Political Science, General; Sociology, General; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Link to Full Text

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