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C.J. Pascoe PhD

I am a sociologist who studies young people, inequality and education. My new book, Nice is Not Enough: Inequality and the Limits of Kindness at American High tells the story of American High School, a school characterized by acceptance, connection, and kindness—a school where, a prominent sign states, “there is no room for hate.” This book describes how American High, like many high schools, uses a “regime of kindness” to address persistent inequalities. By examining how this regime of kindness makes systemic inequalities look like individual ones Nice is Not Enough shows the limits of this approach and suggests ways we might begin to dismantle persistent inequalities in high school and beyond. 


Read an interview with me about cultures of kindness in high school here!

Nice is Not Enough

"Nice Is Not Enough is a deeply observed, profoundly important statement on how schools' well-meaning 'cultures of kindness' mask inequalities of race, class, gender, and sexuality while claiming to do the opposite."

-Peggy OrensteinGirls and Sex and Boys and Sex

"Nice Is Not Enough is a virtuosic study from one of sociology's best ethnographers. Pascoe has written another classic." 
-Victor RayOn Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters and Why You Should Care

"The power of this book lies in the balance it strikes between solemnity and joy—joy in its celebration of the progress that US schools have made in recent decades in advancing a culture of respect and mutual care, and solemnity in its assessment of the inherent limits of what can be achieved when we treat individual choices as the solution to social problems.” 
-Jessica Calarco, Negotiating Opportunities: How the Middle Class Secures Advantages in School

“Gripping, ethnographically rich, and beautifully written.”

-Annette LareauWe Thought It Would be Heaven: Refugees in an Unequal America

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