The Enduring Myth of the American Dream: Mobility, Marginalization, and Hope.
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Citation of Original PublicationWyatt-Nichol, H. (2011). The enduring myth of the American Dream: Mobility, marginalization, and hope. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior.14(2):258-279.
The American Dream functions as a myth within our political discourse by providing hope to citizens and reinforcing beliefs in the protestant work ethic and meritocracy. This article examines the myth through categories of mobility, marginalization, and hope. Elite theory and institutional isomorphism are used to explore business privilege within Public Administration. The ability to reframe the American Dream is considered through an examination of select speeches at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Despite evidence of declining mobility and structural inequality, citizens cling to the myth. One explanation is that marginalization perpetuates the American Dream by crowding out issues of social class through various methods of institutional isomorphism. Another explanation is that the dream endures because it can be re-conceptualized.