© 2017

Growing up Working Class

Hidden Injuries and the Development of Angry White Men and Women


About this book


This enlightening auto-ethnography examines how social class (and other social institutions and structures) affect how people grow up. Primarily, the book investigates how American children and young adults are impacted by the "hidden injuries" of class, and offers a rich description of how these injuries manifest and curdle later in life. Gorman provides sociological explanations for the phenomenon of the so-called "angry white man," and engages with this phenomenon as it relates to the rise of recent populist political figures such as Donald J. Trump. He also examines how and why white working class people tend to lash out at the wrong social forces and support political action that works against their own interests. Finally, the book demonstrates the connections between working-class attitudes toward schooling, sports, politics, and economics.


class injuries working-class men working-class women white working class inequality social stratification class divide autoethnography working class anger populism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Queens College, CUNYQueensUSA

About the authors

Thomas J. Gorman is Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College, The City University of New York, USA. 

Bibliographic information


“The book provides rich potential to explore the nuances of racially homogenous class experiences and related perspectives around self-esteem, education, relationship formation, family trauma (e.g., alcoholism), and other hidden injuries of class.” (Meghan Burke, Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 48 (5), September, 2019)

“Nostalgia rolled back to me faster than the B-express train as I read Queens College sociologist Thomas J. Gorman’s Growing Up Working Class. … the book is erected around a compelling thesis: How the ‘hidden injuries of class’ follow working-class kids into adulthood … . what I admire most in Gorman’s book are his astute autobiographical observations. He successfully evokes the claustrophobic, frustrating, exhilarating, painful, sometimes menacing, and just plain loud world of working-class New York.” (Alfred Lubrano, Journal of Working Class Studies, Vol. 3 (2), December, 2018)

“Gorman’s book … is an autoethnography embedded in sociological theories and concepts (including Sennett and Cobb’s [1972] hidden injuries of class). The premise of this well-written book is simple: the author shows how sociology has allowed him to look back and understand what happened in his life. … Gorman gathered rich and differentiated material which comprises memories, informal interviews, social media hangouts, and biographical materials, such as a letter cited in full and a complete study program.” (Kamil Luczaj, Acta Sociologica, 2018)