About beyond-class.net

Social class is on everyone’s tongue these days, but its roots are little talked about or defined. 

  • Who makes up the “declining middle-class,” and what makes them “middle?” 
  • What happened to the working class people who used to have the manufacturing jobs that have migrated overseas? How big is the working class population?
  • Who are the “poor people,” where do they live, and what are their lives like? 
  • What do we know of the “5%” of the population who owns or controls 40% of the nation’s wealth? 

Premise: because of profound differences in their upbringing, people from one class background find it hard to comprehend the perspective of another. The purpose of this site is to explore social class. The goal is to bridge barriers of understanding between people. 

How does each class see itself? What do they think of the others, and why?

This site will grow with real life stories and viewpoints of individuals from each social class. It will share their self-perceptions and how they view those different from themselves, as well as their successes and challenges in communicating across class, and related boundaries like race and gender. 

If this adventure catalyzes your thinking and expands your options in building relationships across class, it has achieved its purpose. 

You are invited to write your responses, thoughts and personal stories. This site will publish representative stories and share different points of view over time. We’ll share as much as we can, consistent with the purpose, and involve a wider range of participants as we become more skilled on this end. 

About David Jewell, founder

I’ve been influenced by all levels of social class. My dad was raised poor on a dust bowl Kansas farm, worked his way through veterinary school with the aid of a supportive aunt, and eventually became a small-town physician—the kind who made house calls. Mom was the sixth generation reared on an Ohio farm that grew apple and the select peaches that went into Graeter’s Ice Cream in Cincinnati. Her dad was the town clerk and an elder in his church.

My interest in class sharpened when I read The Status Seekers by Vance Packard soon after it appeared, and I have been exploring the topic ever since. I’ve lived in small towns, big cities, served in the Army in Europe, worked at multiple levels and mingled socially across boundaries. I've listened to- and interviewed people widely. Much of that work will appear in these pages over the next period. I intend this to be a springboard for a much broader look at class and its consequences. 

Thanks for reading this far. I’m glad you’ve taken an interest in this exploration, and hope to hear from you.