chapter
48 Pages

Introduction

ByAlan L. Grey

Class differences, once hidden safely at the back of the American ideological closet, have finally clattered into the political arena to demand recognition. The civil rights movement, Headstart programs, the war on poverty, riot-control legislation, all are separate operations directed toward the same "culturally deprived" people of our nation. Research in class character covers a range of phenomena that stand at a crossroad between psychology, sociology, psychiatry, anthropology, their sundry subdisciplines, and their intellectual neighbors. In contemporary history there are at least three related social-science specialties concerned with the interplay between environment and individual characteristics: personality-and-culture, national-character, and class-character research. The strong interest in socialization that has persisted in personality-culture, national-character, and class-character research is, obviously, inherited from psychoanalytic theory, whose core orientation is the interaction between biological growth and life experiences during the time from birth to puberty.