America’s middle class is suffering an economic meltdown that threatens the sector of society long considered the nation’s bedrock. UNC Charlotte author and researcher Scott Fitzgerald will dissect these troubles and explore ways to regain prosperity, in the first talk of UNC Charlotte’s Personally Speaking authors series for 2014-15.
The free community talk is set for Thursday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. at UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 E. Ninth Street. UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Atkins Library present this series, which marks its fifth season this year.
Fitzgerald, a UNC Charlotte sociology associate professor, has researched and co-authored two books and numerous articles on the topic. His most recent book, Middle Class Meltdown in America: Causes, Consequences and Remedies, sheds additional light into the growing instability of the middle class. The book has won acclaim for its common-sense framing of the issue and possible solutions.
Middle Class Shifts From Comfortable to Vulnerable
“In the wake of the financial crisis, Middle Class Meltdown in America provides a clear, compelling story of the middle class’s shift from comfortable to vulnerable,” said Katherine Porter, professor of law at the University of California, Irvine. “(Co-author Kevin) Leicht and Fitzgerald convincingly trace the crumbling of the middle class in America, and explore solutions to restoring middle class prosperity. The book’s melding of data and policy produce insights that will spark discussion and debate.”
The book demonstrates the continued relevance of sociological investigation into contemporary social problems by focusing on the interconnections between economic, politics and civil society. Leicht and Fitzgerald collaborated on an earlier book, Post-Industrial Peasants: The Illusion of Middle Class Prosperity, published in 2007.
“The middle class is in crisis in America, but why?” said Rachel Dwyer, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University. “Middle Class Meltdown in America provides the answers. Leicht and Fitzgerald show how deteriorating job opportunities and expanding credit have stretched family finances to the breaking point. They pinpoint the institutional changes and political decisions that led to the middle class squeeze, and pose innovative solutions. This book is required reading for anyone concerned about the middle class in America.”
Fitzgerald’s research interests include economic inequality, social movements, religion and the nation state and encourages broad public discussions to address social problems. Middle Class Meltdown is co-authored with Leicht, professor, departmental chair, and director of the Iowa Social Science Research Center at The University of Iowa.
A reception will follow Fitzgerald’s talk. Complimentary parking is available in lots at 319 E. Ninth Street and 422 E. Ninth Street, immediately across from the building. Attendants will direct guests. RSVPs are requested, via the online registration form or by calling 704-687-1429.