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Old 09-06-2012, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,221,869 times
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NOTE: Any resemblances of these persons to individuals in real life is completely coincidental.

Caio is a 27-year-old doctoral candidate doing his research in historical linguistics at a large American university. Caio is the son of Gustavo, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and former overnight shelf stocker for a major retailer who died of a heart attack when Caio was 10 and of Marilynn, an American-born woman of Scottish descent who held a variety of positions to make ends-meet before and after Gustavo died, such as exotic dancer, clerk, and cleaning lady. Caio performed excellently in high school, and qualified for a full-ride scholarship given to Latino men demonstrating resilience, and went on to perform at the top of his class in his undergraduate linguistics major, and was part of his college's program for non-traditional aspirants to doctoral studies. Caio lives with his mother, now unemployed, and has a net worth of $-30,000, with the debt being incurred primarily by some student loans and credit card debt. They currently receive Food Stamps, as his paltry Graduate Assistantship income does not fully suffice to support his family, and his mother is on Social Security disability for psychological reasons. Caio enjoys his travels to linguistics conferences, going out to eat with his mother, photography, especially night photography, and videography with his DSLR camera, jumping to his Dance Dance Revolution Playstation game, listens to NPR, the BBC, and various international radio stations, watches Operation Repo, Storage Wars, and National Geographic / BBC documentaries in his spare time, and for the most part has no social life outside of his studies. He drives a '98 Taurus, which he occasionally lets his mother, who does not possess a driver's license, drive. He plans on completing his dissertation within the next two years and being a professor.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 19,929,540 times
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O.K., the term "socio-economic" has two parts. Let's start with the second part (economic). This can also be divided into two parts - the present situation and the future potential. In the present moment, Caio is lower class - negative net worth, income not quite enough to live on, etc. But there is the potential for that to change radically once he gets his Ph.D., and he is well on the way. Is that guaranteed? No, because no outcome in life is guaranteed. But given the history it seems probable that Caio will end up as upper middle class, or perhaps middle class depending on how we view the income of a college professor, which can vary quite a bit anyway. So the strong potential for change sets him apart from most of his lower-class peers.

Now the other part of the term (socio-): Socially, Caio has already transcended his lower class roots by virtue of his educational achievements. We can assume that the way he speaks would signal this immediately to even the casual observer. Perhaps the people (or person, in this case - his mother) who surround him have not yet caught up to Caio's own level of interests (NPR, the BBC, etc.), but again, it would be a pretty fair assumption that when he becomes a professor he will have more friends and acquaintances who are clearly upper middle class.

So right now, Caio is in transition socio-economically. Even if he should fail to get his Ph.D. for some reason, say, in the worst case, a descent into drugs or alcoholism, and remain mired with his mother in his lower class roots, he will be substantially different from other lower class people by virtue of his vocabulary, knowledge, intellectual interests, etc. In that case, he would be an anomaly.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:50 AM
 
Location: North of Canada, but not the Arctic
17,886 posts, read 16,069,675 times
Reputation: 21443
Lower
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Nesconset, NY
2,202 posts, read 4,062,533 times
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Middle-low class.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:59 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,836,161 times
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Default Really $30k in debt?

Kid has grades high enough for a full ride scholarship and still manages that size debt?

Seems unlikely.

Who the heck would ever pay anyone for a degree in "historical linguistics"? Sounds doomed to be a hanger on at poltical conventions and other fantasies...
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:07 PM
 
Location: North of Canada, but not the Arctic
17,886 posts, read 16,069,675 times
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When is the correct answer going to be revealed?
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,221,869 times
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There is no correct answer.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:10 AM
 
30,401 posts, read 34,275,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
O.K., the term "socio-economic" has two parts. Let's start with the second part (economic). This can also be divided into two parts - the present situation and the future potential. In the present moment, Caio is lower class - negative net worth, income not quite enough to live on, etc. But there is the potential for that to change radically once he gets his Ph.D., and he is well on the way. Is that guaranteed? No, because no outcome in life is guaranteed. But given the history it seems probable that Caio will end up as upper middle class, or perhaps middle class depending on how we view the income of a college professor, which can vary quite a bit anyway. So the strong potential for change sets him apart from most of his lower-class peers.

Now the other part of the term (socio-): Socially, Caio has already transcended his lower class roots by virtue of his educational achievements. We can assume that the way he speaks would signal this immediately to even the casual observer. Perhaps the people (or person, in this case - his mother) who surround him have not yet caught up to Caio's own level of interests (NPR, the BBC, etc.), but again, it would be a pretty fair assumption that when he becomes a professor he will have more friends and acquaintances who are clearly upper middle class.

So right now, Caio is in transition socio-economically. Even if he should fail to get his Ph.D. for some reason, say, in the worst case, a descent into drugs or alcoholism, and remain mired with his mother in his lower class roots, he will be substantially different from other lower class people by virtue of his vocabulary, knowledge, intellectual interests, etc. In that case, he would be an anomaly.
Excellent assessment...although I do have to wonder what his earning/job potential are with this PhD. There are more than a few folks with these kinds of degrees out there who never become professors because of the severely limited number of positions. At best, many end up working as low paid, part time adjunct professors for years on end.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 19,929,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
Excellent assessment...although I do have to wonder what his earning/job potential are with this PhD. There are more than a few folks with these kinds of degrees out there who never become professors because of the severely limited number of positions. At best, many end up working as low paid, part time adjunct professors for years on end.
Good point. I don't know what the job market is for university professors in historical linguistics, but I would have to assume it's better than, say, art history Ph.D's. I have posted about the dismal job prospects for art history majors in the thread "Why Aren't Twentysomethings Buying Cars or Houses?" (posts numbers 47 and 54) here in the Economics Forum.

Last edited by Escort Rider; 09-09-2012 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:27 PM
 
30,401 posts, read 34,275,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Good point. I don't know what the job market is for university professors in historical linguistics, but I would have to assume it's better than, say, Art History Ph.D's.
Eh, I don't know for sure, but I have the impression the odds would be about the same for both of these fields. Even if the odds are better for linguistics, I suspect they're only marginally so.
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