Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Working Class

IN DISCUSSING THE POTENTIAL of the left in rural spaces, we have uncovered an equally thorny topic: What, and who, do we mean when we talk about the working class? We have, rightly in my mind, assessed the left as a coalition of people and politics that aims to build working-class power, but this volume also speaks to a wider conversation about the nature of that power and how it will manifest.

Nancy Isenberg’s response shows us the danger of creating simplistic avatars of the working class, and she finds fault among both progressives and conservatives. The most damning exhibit she produces is the celebrity of J. D. Vance. But she is also right to pause and examine the ways the “star power” of left political figures such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crowd our field of vision and absorb gendered expectations that are difficult to reconcile. “Mother Jones wouldn’t stand a chance of getting elected today,” Isenberg writes, underscoring the chauvinism that continues to animate segments of Appalachia’s working class.

Read the complete article and many more in this issue of Boston Review
Purchase options below
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Digital Issue Left Elsewhere
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Boston Review subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription $24.99 billed annually