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Measuring Up explores the relentless pressure many Americans feel to measure up successfully with respect to grades, beauty, economic achievement, and various quantified aptitudes." This unique text focuses both on the macro and micro aspects of social and cultural life, discussing such topics as culture, socialization, peer groups, reference groups, presentations of self, gender roles, class inequality, deindustrialization, corporate downsizing, status systems, and human agency. The author takes a critical look at modern cultural values that support the performance ethic and concludes with hope for a reorientation of cultural values that could promote a more productive, authentic selfhood in America.