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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Oct 28, 2021

Claudia Cragg (Twitter: @claudiacragg) talks to Celine-Marie Pascale @cmpascale about her new book, 'Living On The Edge: When Hard Times Become A Way Of Life' published by @politybooks.

For the majority of Americans, hard times have long been a way of life. Some work multiple low-wage jobs, others face the squeeze of stagnant wages and rising costs of living. Sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale talked with people across Appalachia, at the Standing Rock and Wind River reservations, and in the bustling city of Oakland, California. Their voices offer a wide range of experiences that complicate dominant national narratives about economic struggles.

Yet Living on the Edge is about more than individual experiences. It’s about a nation in a deep economic and moral crisis. It’s about the long-standing collusion between government and corporations that prioritizes profits over people, over the environment, and over the nation’s well-being. It’s about how racism, sexism, violence, and the pandemic shape daily experience in struggling communities. And, ultimately, it’s a book about hope that lays out a vision for the future as honest as it is ambitious.

Most people in the book are not progressives; none are radicals. They’re hard-working people who know from experience that the current system is unsustainable. Across the country people described the need for a living wage, accessible health care, immigration reform, and free education. Their voices are worth listening to.

As a sociologist who studies language, Dr. Pascale's research concerns culture, knowledge and power. Her most recent book, Living on the Edge: When Hard Times Become A Way of Life is forthcoming in 2021 from Polity. Living on the Edge draws from conversations and in-depth interviews with people across Appalachia, on Standing Rock and Wind River Reservations, and in struggling communities within the bustling city of Oakland, California. Dr. Pascale is also the author of three other books. Her first, Making Sense of Race, Gender and Class: Commonsense, Power and Privilege in the United States (Routledge, 2007) won the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociology Association Section on Race, Class and Gender. Her second book, Cartographies of Knowledge: Exploring Qualitative Epistemologies (Sage 2011) won the 2012 Distinguished Book Award from the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry for “charting new territories." Pascale’s third book Social Inequalities & The Politics of Representation: A Global Landscape was published in 2013, has been recognized as a field defining collection of original scholarship. For more information see: