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Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class

Rob Henderson


In his recently published memoir, Troubled, Rob Henderson reflects on his time growing up in the American foster care system and enlisting in the US Air Force before going on to study at Yale. He completed his tertiary education with a PhD from Cambridge.

While he was at university, Henderson thought deeply about class distinctions and came up with the concept of luxury beliefs.

Rob Henderson writes in this article about his idea that “luxury beliefs” are “ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class at very little cost, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes”.

He writes:

“In the past, people displayed their membership of the upper class with their material accoutrements. But today, luxury goods are more accessible than before. This is a problem for the affluent, who still want to broadcast their high social position. But they have come up with a clever solution. The affluent have decoupled social status from goods and reattached it to beliefs.”

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