Sharyn Hall Humanities and Social Science
The Habitus of the Protestant Work Ethic: How Social Distance Is Mediated via Social Class versus Economic Status
Habitus is the acquired expression of personal taste in art, dialect, comportment, zip code, literature, entertainment, etc. established by the wealthy (unconsciously) as a means to set themselves apart from the working class. Yet mere expression of habitus by the lower economic strata changes their social class (Bourdieu, 1976). The Protestant Work Ethic (PWE) is best captured by the colloquialism pull yourself up by your bootstraps and is the belief that anyone can achieve wealth and success if s/he is willing to do the hard work. Notwithstanding, the social cues indicating economic status are incongruent with those revealing social position. My research examines the correlation between habitus, PWE, and sensitivity to rejection among members of the same racial/ethnic group.