Use our essay title generator to get ideas and recommendations instantly
Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed
Barbara Ehrenreich is a writer and journalist who decided to conduct an experiment and find out for herself what it is like to live on the minimum wage. For one month at a time she entered various communities, taking on minimum wage positions and trying to stay ahead. Ehrenreich detailed her experience in the book Nickel and Dimed. This books offers insight into the real lives and struggles of these people, showing just how difficult life is for them. As well as this, it is a striking account of how the lower class are treated by their employers and by people in general.
The first thing that was immediately noticeable in the book was just how hard it was for people on the minimum wage just to achieve the basics of having food and shelter. Ehrenreich started the experiment in Key est and was not…
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Henry Holt.
Rent, gas, utilities, food, and clothing become a burden because the market is not set up for those who make the least but those who make more than that and it really does not matter how much more because at a certain level, it is all too much and the low earners are simply left out of the system altogether. Nickel and Dimed also taught me that social responsibility is mandatory if we are to address this problem and do something about it. hile Ehrenreich does not open address solutions for the problems she encountered, it is clear that something must be done. I do not think I will ever be able to walk into a al-Mart and look at the "associates" the same way again. Those with less understanding say that if they do not want to work there, they should find better jobs but this book taught me…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Metropolitan Books. 2001.
For example, Ehrenreich tamed her naturally assertive nature into a more tame and likable demeanor: one that corresponded with gender norms as well as with norms for prospective employees. orking with one career coach in Georgia, the author presented a confident, convincing sales pitch. She marketed herself and her work skills admirably for a whole hour before the coach bluntly told her without humor that she seemed angry. If Barbara Alexander were male, he would have been confident and sure of himself, not angry.
Ehrenreich as Alexander also pretended to care about people and companies and industries to get a job. Her work reflects Durkheim's principle of anomie. She pretended to be a team player, a mover and a shaker. The fact that Ehrenreich needed to lie to expose the mistruth of the American Dream perfectly fits the cynical tone of Bait and Switch.
The American Dream baits many if…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bait and Switch. New York: Metropolitan, 2005.
Nickeled and Dimed
In an attempt to prevent families from living below the poverty line in the United States, the government ensures that people are paid a minimum-wage. Through this minimum-wage, the government believes that people can afford to pay their rents and bills, and cover the costs of their groceries, etc. However, this is not true, as the minimum-wage is indeed too little for the average family to survive on. This is because of the soaring rents that people have a hard time paying; with the meager wages they earn they can hardly make ends meet.
The current situation in places like California is considered difficult to get by for the minimum-wage earner. It is considered impossible to escape poverty, realizing that the minimum wage that is given to workers is insufficient. The current solutions proposed are not enough to deal with the problem, and the government needs to…
Althusser, L. 'Marxism and humanism' in For Marx, tr. 1977, esp. sec. 4 (pp. 231-236) 1964.
Durkheim, emile. 1982. "Debate on the Relationship between Ethnology and Sociology." Pp. 209-10 in The Rules of Sociological Method and Selected Texts on Sociology and its Method, edited by Steven Lukes. Translated by W.D. Halls. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Durkheim, emile. The Division of Labor in Society. Translated by W.D. Halls. New York: The Free Press. 1984.
Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Metropolitan Books, 2001.
he sharpness of the division that Ehrenreich perceives might be at least partially a symptom of her ultimate lack of subjectivity. In her introduction, Ehrenreich admits that she has many advantages over actual minimum-wage workers, not the least of which is the knowledge that even should she fail in this endeavor, she has a nice home and a "real" job to return to, and that she is not in any danger of going hungry or cold (Ehrenreich, 2001).. his presents the major limitation to her mode of study; no matter what, she is bringing an incredibly subjective and judgmental eye to her research. his shows up as a strength in hr writing, making the stories far more human and interesting, not to mention intentionally provocative, but is an immense detriment to her scholarship.
he main issue Ehrenreich touches on is, the immense unfairness of the minimum-wage situation. Clearly, life is…
The sharpness of the division that Ehrenreich perceives might be at least partially a symptom of her ultimate lack of subjectivity. In her introduction, Ehrenreich admits that she has many advantages over actual minimum-wage workers, not the least of which is the knowledge that even should she fail in this endeavor, she has a nice home and a "real" job to return to, and that she is not in any danger of going hungry or cold (Ehrenreich, 2001).. This presents the major limitation to her mode of study; no matter what, she is bringing an incredibly subjective and judgmental eye to her research. This shows up as a strength in hr writing, making the stories far more human and interesting, not to mention intentionally provocative, but is an immense detriment to her scholarship.
The main issue Ehrenreich touches on is, the immense unfairness of the minimum-wage situation. Clearly, life is not truly sustainable for an individual on a minimum-wage income unless two jobs are held. Ehrenreich is unable to work a twelve hour day for more than a few days in a row, though one wonders if she could do so if her life truly depended on it (Ehrenreich, 2001). But the fact is, we believe in this country that no one should have to do such a thing. Many people do it, however, and manage to pull themselves out of poverty. Though there is definite unfairness to the situation, there is not the hopelessness that Ehrenreich insinuates. In general, however, the economic landscape always seems to remain bleak and monotonous to low-wage worker. The jobs they work are always available, so they are somewhat more insulated from economic crises, but rising prices hurt them more. Basically, when all you're doing is just scraping by, one day seems very much like the next, and major economic tides seem like far-off events. it's hard to care about bank failures when you can't even afford to put food on your plate.
Ehrenreich, B. (2001) Nickel and Dimed. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
" As Ehrenreich found, in some case you are your resume, but in other cases the individual is clearly NOT their resume. Instead, looking at what the book calls white-collar life "at its most miserable and precarious" (p. 216), one can only glean that this is clearly not the place for everyone, nor is it the do all end-all of Protestant expectations of actualization. In fact, pining for that perfect corporate job will likely not fulfill many needs because it is a roller-coaster of Machiavellianism, game-playing, extreme selfishness from employers and a purposeful sense of never being good enough, never doing a good enough job, and indeed, keeping the individual feeling that they must continually do better just to maintain -- without consequence to health, family, or indeed, the very actualization that was the point of school and job in the first place. Instead, if there is any lesson in…
Ehrenreich, B. (October 8, 1989). Interview -- Booknotes. CSPAN. Cited in:
____. (September 26, 2005). Bait and Switch. The New Yorker. Cited in:
Ehrenreich Nickeled and Dimed
In Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, the workers trapped in dead-end service sector jobs have virtually no chance at all of escaping poverty or obtaining any meaningful quality of life. That is one of the main themes of the book, a constant struggle for mere subsistence with a high cost of living and a very poor quality of life. These jobs are all the same in that the employees are expendable, the pay is too low for them to survive, and the benefits are often nonexistent. They are often filled by women, young people and immigrants, and they offer no real future of any kind, much less a path to middle-class status. hen Ehrenreich wrote this book, the Great Recession had not yet begun, so this top of work was plentiful, and as she discovered employers ran want ads almost continuously due to the high turnover.…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Metropolitan Books, 2001, 2008.
Ehrenreich Meets Mills
The sociologist of the 1950's C. right Mills' paraphrases a common American belief that one's work or livelihood is an exuberant expression of the soul, rather than a way to pay for life's necessities and to provide for one's private pleasures. This cliche about the uplifting nature of work reflects a common, American misapprehension particularly prevalent in Millis' day that what one does for a living in a capitalist society can be equated with one's character and self-worth.
Yet, in her work as an undercover journalist in her text, Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich noted that this ideology was prevalent amongst lower-wage workers as well. hile working at the lower levels of organizations, far away from Millis' white collar workers, Ehrenreich met individuals in so-called menial jobs who were writers like herself during their off hours, and individuals who put their…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America. Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Mills, C. Wright. The White-Collar Worker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951.
Imperialism is destructive to all but a select few persons in positions of financial and political power.
Also, because female migration is often not coerced but undertaken by some degree of choice, the type of imperialism arising from the female labor force is subtle and generally overlooked by sociologists, economists, and policy makers. As a result, humanitarian issues can easily fall by the wayside. For example, the women who leave their countries of origin sometimes leave behind family members and in some cases, husbands and children. The flow of labor from developing to developed nations depletes the sending nations' labor force and further impoverishes them, increasing their dependency on economic powerhouses like the United States. As economies in the third world collapse, workers, farmers, and families suffer from a lack of affordable health care, education and other social services. A potential side-effect in sending countries may be higher rates of…
Daorueng, P. & Yamin, K. (1998). Third World Resurgence 94. Retrieved 30 September 2005 at http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/last-cn.htm
Ehrenreich, B. & Hochschild, A.R. (2002). Global Woman. New York: Metropolitan.
The book Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hothschild is a series of essays that explore the subject of female migration at the beginning of the 21st century. The work contains eight essays covering a range of topics, which are related to each other by a common thread. The subjects include migrant maids, prostitution as a means of gaining access to legal migration, overseas brides, and the role of global cities in female migration. The common thread to these essays is the migration of lower-wage women around the world, and the patterns than such migration takes at present. The authors and editors of this project tie these essays together under the umbrella argument that one form of modern globalization has women in the wealthier nations turning over "women's work" to women from the underdeveloped world. They note that…
Ehrenreich, B. & Hochschild, A. (2002) Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the new Economy. New York: Henry Holt.
Nickel and Dream
People who are born or raised in the United States share unique character traits because of the American culture. Because this is considered a land of freedom and opportunity there are rights and gifts that are promised to each citizen. The American Dream is the unique idea that anyone who is willing to work hard can come from nothing and achieve their life's goals and ambitions so long as they live in America. Anyone, no matter how low class their level of birth, can succeed and have all the material possessions, money, and related power that they want as long as they are willing to put in the effort to achieve it. It is a promise which is two-sided because it requires the American to reach out for what the nation is holding above their head. In response to this ideology, many American authors have taken it…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York:
Metropolitan, 2001. Print.
King, Martin Luther. "I Have a Dream." 1963. Print.
" (Ehrenreich, 2001, p.44)
At least as a waitress, Ehrenreich is visible. Maids, which are usually, except in all-white areas like Maine, utterly invisible and socially isolated in the socially stratified community. orse yet, while Ehrenreich might have had some anxiety about passing, even educated Black women occasionally have trouble 'passing' for the class they are a part of. 'Oh Look Mommy a baby maid," Ehrenreich quotes the poet "Audre Lorde" who "reported an experience she had in 1967," as the poet "wheel[ed] my two-year-old daughter in a shopping cart through a supermarket." (Ehrenreich, 2001, citing Mary Romero, Maid in the U.S.A.: Perspective on Gender [New York, Routledge, 1992, p.72] footnote p. 79) Even in infancy, Lorde's daughter was targeted as a potential maid, not a potential poet.
If Ehrenreich were not white, in other words, she would have had no trouble 'passing' as lower class and securing the worst…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. (2001) Nickel and Dimed. New York Henry Holt & Co/
Hughes, Michael & Carolyn J. Kroehler. (2001) Sociology: The Core. McGraw Hill.
Household duties are traditionally, in many cultures, considered the province of women. Even after they receive an education, women often stay home and raise the children rather than put their energy into building a career. The labor that women perform in the home including cleaning and childrearing duties is almost always unpaid work, leading to a situation in which women are essentially domestic servants. Moreover, with educated women in the home, the world continues to be dominated by a patriarchal structure in which men remain in positions of political, social, and economic power. In "Maid to Order," Barbara Ehrenreich argues that the modern and post-modern feminist movement has created a massive and meaningful shift in the role of women in society but the author points out that this change has only so far impacted the lives of wealthy white women. Although the author misses a few key points, Ehrenreich is…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Maid to Order." Harper. 2000.
However, the social perceptions that could have gained her an easier entry into low-class work also could have kept her there, and prevented her from entering a management position. Gender in the absence of race seems to be the cutting divide at the Maids, while the individual who is in charge of the franchise is male, and a male voice guides the Hispanic demonstrator on the tape. But in more diverse Minnesota at the al-Mart, Ehrenreich is recruited as "management material," a status not extended to her nonwhite colleagues. (Ehrenreich, p.109) "Much of our interaction with others consists of subtle negotiation over just how much deference, honor, respect, and awe we are to extend and receive." (Kroehler & Hughes, p. 178) Divisions of respect are not exclusive to race, but race seems to predominate, with class, language, and gender stepping in only afterwards, in the absence of clear racial markers.…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Henry Holt. 2001.
Kroehler Carolyn J. & Michael Hughes. Sociology: The Core. Sixth Edition New York: McGraw Hill 1999.
Cure" for Poverty?
With most unskilled labor jobs in America paying no more that six or seven dollars an hour, there will never be an end to poverty. In all actuality, it doesn't matter is someone researches the subject for ten years, goes to college for ten more years to receive degrees in psychology, sociology, marketing and business, the simple truth to the matter is that there will never be an end to poverty. In the book, "We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare,"
Joel F. Handler explains that in the every changing world where rent, food, gas and groceries are constantly on the rise, and wages are relatively remaining the same, the possibility of ending poverty is, straight and to the point, nil. (Joel F. Handler "We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare," 143)
One of the reason it is so hard for a family to remain…
Joel F. Handler (October 1997)We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare, 143
Andrew Solomon, (June 2001), "The Noonday Demon," 187
Rebecca Blank, (February, 1997), "It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty," Princeton University Press, 54
Kate Kahan and Leandra Lipson, (July 2000), WEEL Journal, "Working for Equality and Economic Liberation" Self Published. 14
Keeping all these facts and figures in mind, it would not be wrong to conclude that low wage is one of the more serious problems of the country and needs urgent remedy. The government needs to address the issue properly and effectively keeping in view the current demographic trends.
1. Anthony Bimba, The Molly Maguires: The True Story of Labor's Martyred Pioneers in the Coalfields (1950; reprint, New York: International Publishers, 1975), pp. 54-66.
2. Ibid., p. 65.
3. Ibid., p. 66.
4. Edward Wolff, "ecent Trends in Living Standards in the United States," New York University and the Jerome Levy Institute of Economics, New York, 2002 p. 1.
5. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: Tomorrow's Jobs. Online. Available: http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm. Accessed: September 9, 2006.
9. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics…
1. Anthony Bimba, The Molly Maguires: The True Story of Labor's Martyred Pioneers in the Coalfields (1950; reprint, New York: International Publishers, 1975), pp. 54-66.
2. Ibid., p. 65.
3. Ibid., p. 66.
4. Edward Wolff, "Recent Trends in Living Standards in the United States," New York University and the Jerome Levy Institute of Economics, New York, 2002 p. 1.
If the author had been a woman of color, she might have faced additional discrimination in hiring, and found she was kept away from certain jobs, even though such hiring practices are illegal. She does note often throughout the book that many (in fact most) of her co-workers are white, so it is clear immigrants and women of color work at even lower paying jobs behind the scenes. She also notes that no matter what their color, most of the women have to have a second job just to survive. She notes, "Of my fellow servers, everyone who lacks a working husband or boyfriend seems to have a second job: Nita does something at a computer eight hours a day; another welds" (Ehrenreich 39). Thus, these women work hard at one job, but cannot rest; they go to a second job just to pay the bills, leaving little time for…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Owl Books, 2002.
Bronfenbrenner's four systems consist of microsystems (i.e. nuclear family, neighborhood, schools, etc.); mesosystems (i.e. The specific connections between the individual and microsystems); exosystems (i.e. external environment and circumstances such as the work experiences of the parents); and macrosystems (i.e. The larger elements of society such as national culture and political climate). The additional (fifth) system is the chronosystem (i.e. The long-term patterns that describe the lifetime experiences of the individual in society such as in relation to the other four systems).
Ehrenreich's observations and conclusions seem to most exemplify the influence and effects of Bronfenbrenner's exosystems and chronosystems. Specifically, the exosystems concept explains how damaging to the child it can be for a parent to work in demeaning and backbreaking work day after day, especially without realistic hope of improving the life circumstances of the family. The privations of poverty are compounded by the various detrimental consequences of primary caretakers…
Globalization has stripped the U.S. Of its stranglehold over manufacturing and forced it to readjust itself into a service oriented industry. As a result, education, training and specialization are more crucial than ever for the attainment of high paying jobs. This leaves the majority of Americans who do not have high educational or vocational training to have fewer opportunities for employment. Competitions from third world nations have stripped away many industries and jobs that are traditionally strong employers such as the automotive and steel industries. The result is that employees have had to take lower-paying jobs because they cannot readjust themselves for more complex positions required within the changing dynamics of globalization. rom an economic perspective this is an inevitable process, and therefore the wealth gap grows because those with very strong education and specialization are able to take advantage of economic trends towards service oriented industries, while those who…
From a political perspective, economic change and the conservatism of the past two decades have changed the spirit of government assistance for the poor. Welfare no longer exists as it did in the 1970s, and more funding is being diverted away from providing for the poor. As a result of government policies to provide greater independence and breaks for the average citizen, more and more funds are being steered away from helping the poor. The combination of a dearth of government spending to aid the poor as well as an unfriendly job market for unskilled labor has contributed to the poor becoming poorer.
From a social perspective, the "hippy" culture of the earlier decades has been replaced with a growing demand for social gratification through money and influence. In a survey conducted of college students in 1990, 80% reported that making money was their first priority following graduation. As society becomes more influenced by materialistic culture, the perspective of helping the poor and solving social problems are de-emphasized. All three factors have contributed to the growing wealth inequality within the United States.
Nickel and Dimed" revealed to us the world of American poverty. The poorest sector of the United States live a life that few can imagine and many thought eradicated. The factors that have brought us to the circumstances that Ehrenreich depicts within her book are multifaceted. They involve inevitable economic changes, government policy as well as social perspectives. To rectify this problem will be extremely difficult. Changes will have to be made on many different levels that will involve a changing perspective on views of poverty and success. However, if this trend continues, the wealth gap will inevitably polarize the American public and lead to a major national crisis. Thus to preserve the democracy and health of the United States, steps must be taken to change the culture towards wealth disparity.
Having grown up in an era where sex-based discrimination was legal, they understand how easy it would be to return to that era. This has led to a characterization of second-wave feminists as somehow militant, a label that even third-wave feminists might apply to them.
Looking at the 2008 Democrat presidential primaries, the conflict between second and third wave feminists became apparent. Many second-wave feminists felt that it was a woman's duty to vote for the female candidate because having a woman run as a serious contender in a presidential primary could be an isolated event. In contrast, many third-wave feminists, though thrilled that Clinton was taken seriously as a candidate, simply did not think that her candidacy would be an isolated event; instead, they believed that women would continue to make credible candidates in presidential elections. Moreover, many third-wave feminists, like the author, seemed to find racial barriers more…
Mass Culture and Popular Culture and Studying Bestsellers Books
This paper takes into account the differences in the best sellers written in the 1980's and in the 1990's. It also focuses on the themes of the best sellers from the two decades and what makes them appealing to the society.
Mass culture and popular culture and studying bestsellers books
In this day and age, books are being written with a motive to inculcate motives, teaching the readers a lesson every time they open the book.
Good books always serve as a constructive way to provoke idle thoughts. Women started writing as a profession back in the early 1800's. They started off writing articles for magazines, containing information on fashion, science, household tips, and covering other domestic issues. These magazines trained every woman with the proper code of etiquette, style and manner of dressing nicely even motivated women from the lower…
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
Dave Pelzer, A Child Called it
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
Building a Middle Class Life on the Backs of the Poor
hen she wrote Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America., Barbara Ehrenreich did not set out with the intention of making her readers feel sorry for the subjects of the book, who are workers who scrub floors and hand up clothes in discount stores and help care for older citizens in nursing homes and for all of this hard work receive extremely low wages and often no benefits. She wouldn't mind if you felt compassion for such workers, who often hold down two or three jobs, working sixty or seventy or eighty hours a week, and yet still can't afford to pay medical bills or for decent housing. Most of these workers are women, and many of them are racial minorities, and so in addition to asking you to remember the problems that being poor brings with…
Ehrenreich, Barabara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Owl Books, 2002. http://www.msmagazine.com/spring2002/ehrenreich.asp
Kegley, C. & Wittkopft, E. World politics: Trend and transformation. London: Bedford, 2000.
According to both testimonials and statistics, educated people report higher levels of personal happiness and job satisfaction. In her book, Nickel and Dimed, comfortably wealthy author Barbara Ehrenreich reports being taken out for a "$30 lunch and some understated French country-style place" and discussing "future articles I might write for [the editor of Harpoer's] magazine" (1). It is lunching with this editor from Harpers that she decides to take on a monumental task: leaving her posh environment and working in a blue collar job in order to prove, or not prove, that such one can get by making so little.
It is not only her work, but also her ability to take on such a task that proves the importance of education in both personal happiness and job satisfaction. Here, in the first few lines of the introduction, Ehrenreich alludes to her education and the choices it has allowed her…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2002.
Gamoran, Adam. Standards-Based Reform and the Poverty Gap. Washington D.C.:
Brookings Institute Press, 2007.
In this report on the No Child Left Behind Act, author Adam Gamoran looks
Ehrenreich notes how girls who must work for hours cleaning houses often select a bag of Doritos over a sandwich for lunch, presumably because the Doritos are cheaper and taste good.
Of course, for the workers at the lowest end of the pay scale, Doritos or the free burger Ehrenreich gets as a waitress for lunch is an undreamed-of luxury. Lunch might instead be some store-brand hot dog or hamburger rolls. Public food assistance is distinctly unhelpful -- like the bag of food containing candy and Hamburger Helper but no hamburger, Ehrenreich dryly observes, to 'help' it out. Ehrenreich, although health-conscious, often finds herself eating fast food like Wendy's, simply because of a lack of time and cooking space and the fact that the food is filling and cheap. The poor are often criticized for eating fattening food, not cooking, and not getting enough regular exercise. Ehrenreich's struggle to stay…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. (2002). Nickel and dimed: On (not getting by in America). New York: Holt.
feminists of my generation tried to bring some of it into the light of day, but like busy professional women fleeing the house in the morning, they left the project unfinished, the debate broken off in midsentence, the noble intentions unfulfilled."
The daughter of a miner from Butte, Montana, Barbara Ehrenreich takes a look at what life is like for a maid in America from a social perspective in one of her essays titled, "Maid to Order: The Politics of Other Women's Work,." It highlights the progress feminists made with the domestic sphere and then the regression brought on by maid service. Ehrenreich also brings in the idea that race and class are connected to the maid concept and poor colored women are often treated by professional women as less than, perpetuating longstanding beliefs of servitude and dominance. It culminates with Ehrenreich examining the role of mother: the…
Such women, frequently possessing poor English skills, lacking education, and troubling immigration status are often underpaid, overworked, or even worse, held as slaves by high-ranking officials. "-of undocumented women held in servitude by high-ranking staff members of the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund" (64). Such was the case of former U.N. employee, a Senegalese women's rights activist, Angelique Savane who promoted the rights of women in 1986, yet imprisoned another Senegalese woman and made her work for fourteen hours a day. Showing that women's rights and enslavement of women went in hand-in-hand in some, regardless of the hypocrisy and immorality. These kinds of examples and especially the experience of working as a maid in a corporate cleaning chain demonizes domestic life and invites a kind of unsavory perspective on it. This is because the women that do this work have to deal with horrible people, being exploited, and furthermore lack the rights and privileges that one should have in a job.
Ehrenreich continues the essay with detailing the experiences of a maid and the pain and resultant quick turnover of maids due to the nature of their employment and the exhausting labor they perform (68). While leaving this aesthetically clean versus actually clean, the maids still must be on their hands and knees and deal with all the trouble that comes with cleaning several homes. This kind of detail reinforces the already negative view Ehrenreich has on domestic life overlooking the reasons why women choose the jobs and instead focusing on the potential negative effect maids have not just on the ones that work as maids, but the children that see maids working in their homes. "Children learn from maids that some people are less worthy than others, that the employer has "something better" to do with her time" (69).
This moves into the final point Ehrenreich tries to make about domestic life in that the role of the mother falls away from teaching children to behave or do in a certain way and instead is left to the maid who cannot give the child the kinds of lessons and instruction a parent can. " ... a servant economy breeds callousness and solipsism in the served" (70). The child learns not how to clean and view people appropriately, but how to depend on the labor of others instead. She closes the essay with reiterating the plight of the maid and the relationship she inevitably forms with the female employer and the idea that domestic life, something feminists fought hard to change, was now back to the way it was before, with women performing and depending on class, being the ones on their hands and knees.
However, I did not feel in any way degraded by the position in the way that Ehrenreich did, and I believe that to be the case because many of Ehrenreich's positions were by their very nature problematic. For example, she worked as a waitress and a house cleaner. Both of those positions place the individual in a position of subservience. Working at Blockbuster is different because we are around movies and customers who come in just to look for some entertainment. As staff, we are not treated poorly. Management seemed quite happy and laid-back, which made the store ambiance easy for all the clerks. Although I did not mind the work itself, the paycheck was meager and I cannot imagine paying rent with what I earned. The paycheck was only part-time, as no clerks were able to work full-time because the company would have to pay them a salary plus…
As a profession, muckraking has gained a bad reputation ever since President Teddy Roosevelt compared certain journalists to the obsessive lad in the Pilgrim's Progress. In this 1906 speech, Roosevelt likened many journalists of his day to the man who stood in ooze, holding his garden tool and with his eyes fixed downward (Kiee 2001).
However, the "muckraking" techniques of these journalists have shined the light on many issues and practices that need to be addressed.
These exposes regarding corruption and unjust practices have led to public outcry and have spurred social change. After all, the reverse view would paint muckraking as a profession as a research and revelatory-based process that challenges the status quo. One person's muckraker is then another person's crusading journalist.
This paper looks at historic and modern examples of how muckraking has spurred important social changes in American history. The later part of the paper…
2001. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Goldberg, Jonah. 2001. "The Decline of Muckraking." The American Enterprise. June.
Jensen, Carl. 2003. Stories That Changed America: Muckrakers of the 20th Century. New York: Seven Stories Press.
..a commercial for Wal-Mart. When a Wal-Mart shows up within a television within a Wal-Mart, you have to question the existence of an outer world"(Ehrenreich, 179). The author is highly critical of places like Wal-Mart for she knows that these are the places where you do not get what you must as a citizen of the U.S. She writes: "When you enter the low-wage workplace -- and many of the medium- wage workplaces as well -- you check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of the shift." (p. 210)
Wal-Mart is described as an overpowering omnipresent entity that makes a worker feel like a prisoner. With most of the people coming from the most vulnerable section of the society like Holly who is " twenty-three, has been married for almost a year,…
UFCW report: "Wal-Martization of Health care." Retrieved online 22 Jan 2007:
Is Wal-Mart Good for America?" Retrieved online 22 Jan 2007:
working poor are poor because they work too few hours and are lazy. While working additional hours reduces the chance of poverty, many full-time and year-round workers are still poor, due to the low wages they receive (Quammen, 1996). In addition, of those who could climb out of poverty by working year-round, many are unable to do so, due to disability, age, or individual circumstances. This paper will examine whether or not the poor could potentially escape poverty by working 40 hours per week, year-round.
According to Coryn (2001): "Research shows that stereotypes and attributions for poor people and poverty are overwhelmingly negative in the United States. The act of attribution is one in which one ascribes or imputes a characteristic (or trait, emotion or motive, etc.) to oneself or another person. Several studies have identified three fundamental attributions for poverty: individualistic/internal, structural/external, and fatalistic. Individualistic/internal attributions are those that…
Coryn. C. (Fall 2001). Antecedents of Attitudes Toward the Poor. Annual meeting of the Great Plains Students' Psychology Convention, St. Joseph, MO. Tagler, MJ.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. (2001). Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Danziger.
Microenterprise. (January, 2001). Compassion and Economics Join Forces to Empower the Poorest of the Poor. Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology.
People's Tribune. (June, 2001). Growing poverty is America's shame -- here's how we can end it. People's Tribune (Online Edition), Vol. 26 No. 6 / June, 2001. http://www.lrna.org .
The subordination of women manifests in distinct patterns of physical, psychological, political, and economic oppression. Women's work is undervalued, whether that work is classified as domestic labor or as labor in the patriarchal universe. The readings from Chapter 8 reveal the ways domestic servitude continues to define women's work. Domestic servitude constrains women's participation in the patriarchal market economy, too, perpetuating cycles of subordination. Readings in Chapter 10 address another dimension of misogyny: physical abuse and violence. Sexual slavery and domestic abuse are manifestations of patriarchy with disturbing political and social dimensions.
In "Maid to Order," Barbara Ehrenreich (2000) uses the maid as the primary motif to discuss women's labor rights issues. Ehrenreich (2000) states that the "politics of housework" is rarely discussed in public arenas. Housework constitutes an "uncounted and invisible" aspect of the larger economy. Ehrenreich's (2000) astute analysis takes into account poor immigrant domestic laborers as…
Racism and Society -- Literature Response
Race and Identity as Functions of Societal Labeling and Expectations
Two pieces of 20th century literature exemplify the alienation felt by African-Americans in the United States. One of those works, authored by Zora Neal Hurston in 1928, is the essay How It Feels to Be Colored Me, which vividly illustrates the degree to which the identity of a black person in the pre-Civil Rights era was defined by white society. More importantly, Hurston's work also illustrates how much of a conflict and perpetual struggle African-Americans experienced internally if they tried to maintain their own self-identity. hereas many blacks of that era bought into the expectations foisted on them by white society, others resisted this artificial identity that was imposed on them. Hurston clearly was shaped by this dynamic and bitterly resisted the self-identity that she was expected to have accepted and reflected to get…
Ehrenreich, B. (2009). Nickel and Dimed: on (Not) Getting by in America. New York,
NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Hurston, Z.N. (1928). How It Feels to Be Colored Me.
Staples, B. (1986). Just Walk on By.
family, friendship and love are addressed by the collection of authors in the readings. Specifically, these include issues of sexuality, gender, homosexuality, and the relationship between parents and children. All these issues have changed as the world developed sociologically and technologically. Current technological and informational developments for example have a profound effect on the morals and norms relating to the above issues.
In terms of sexuality, Erich Fromm suggests that erotic love is frequently deceptive, as it is mistaken for the phenomenon of love itself, rather than an extension of the emotion. When the union is however achieved, no barriers are left to conquer and the tendency is to crave a new union with another stranger. This urge is however frequently curbed by the ethics of sexuality imposed by society as described by Bertrand Russell. Although the structure of society favors polygamy, monogamy is often imposed by the subconscious that…
At the same time, the Japanese parent will likely encourage the child's freedom, especially in the early stages of life, while the American parent will tend to correct from early stages of development any misbehavior or errors. With the relationship mother-child, the Japanese mother will tend to emphasize less the development of the communication side for the child and will prefer a more symbiotic relationship (Ibid. page 71).
4. A family can best be defined through some of the main characteristics it has. However, one should also known that there are some general characteristics that everyone accepts as to what a family is and several others that are only accepted by groups of individuals as to what the family is. As such, both aspects need to be taken into consideration and discussed.
First of all, the family is judged to be the fundamental unity cell of society. From this perspective,…
1. Roopnarine, Jaipaul. Gielen, Uwe. 2005. Families in Global Perspective. Pearson.
2. Ehrenreich, Barbara, Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2002. Global Woman. Henry Holt and Company
Sociology Take Home Final
Unequal Power Relationships and Laborers
The unequal power relationship that characterizes many employment relationships is characteristic of industrialized capitalism. Capitalism itself is defined by the manufacturing division of labor, which systematically divides the work of economic production into limited operations. The result is that no one man in the Capitalist system would know how to produce a good from start to finish, destroying the traditional notion of occupations, e.g. artisans or craftsmen.
ecause each worker is only qualified to perform a particular, often narrow, task which creates no value in itself but must be combined with the fruits of other tasks by the Capitalist, the worker is at the mercy of the Capitalist who owns the means of production. The dominant mode of employment arising from the manufacturing division of labor is wage labor. In wage labor, a worker does not work to improve his own…
Adler, William M. Mollie's Job: A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line. New York: Scribner, 2000. Print.
Appiah, Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2006. Print.
Bowe, John. Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy. New York: Random House, 2007. Print.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001. Print.
If it has, how has it? If it hasn't, how much is it left?
Fordism thus remains. It remains in worker surveillance, to guard against morality and time theft. It remains in the increased bureaucratization of the global economy, as multi-million dollar conglomerates dominate the world. It remains in the modern emphasis on productivity, rather than training in franchises. It also remains in the developing world, where the poor with little hope of mobility, labor for the rich. And it remains at companies that invest little in worker training like al-Mart.
If it is a combination of both? (Recommend to choose this)
Fordism has given the world many benefits -- affordable goods, particularly technological goods that would be prohibitively expensive without mass production. However, companies such as Google that strive to maximize efficiency, create a corporate culture and climate that permeates every facet of employee's lives, yet still makes an…
Brody, David Review of Michael J. Piore and Charles F. Sabel.
The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity. Reviews in American History. Vol. 13. No. 4. Dec. 1985, pp. 612-615.
Dunn, Bill. Global Restructuring and the Power of Labour. Palgrave, 2004
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. Holt, 2002.
This was achieved by the fact that college has allowed me to take 5 courses that are totally different from one another in each semester.
One of the essential aspects in personal development and eventual self-fulfillment is individual freedom. College promotes the achievement of personal development and fulfillment through providing freedom that is quite liberating. In essence, the student has to make decisions independently regarding significant aspects of his/her education. This contributes to personal development since the person is taught how to make smart choices and concentrate on what is best for him/her. As there are numerous opportunities to explore, the individual must learn to make decisions without increased supervision from parents or teachers. As a result, the ability of a person to make decisions is tested through analysis of the effectiveness of these decisions, which results in individual growth and ability to determine self-fulfillment.
Discovery of Passion:…
Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Higher Education Conformity." Alternet. Alternet, 1 May 2007. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. .
Menand, Louis. "Live and Learn." The New Yorker. Conde Nast., 6 June 2011. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. .
Schwartz, Steven. "The Higher Purpose." Times Higher Education. TSL Education Ltd., 16 May 2003. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. .
Tugend, Alina. "Vocation or Exploration? Pondering the Purpose of College." The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 May 2012. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. .
Economic Inequalities: Deep-ceded Problems in America
New York is a city that is synonymous with America to many people and societies around the world. New York city is a land of freedom and opportunity, symbolized by Lady Liberty in New York harbor. This is a place that does not discriminate based on background, but allows people to chart their own destinies. Or does it? The New York of the 1960s or even the 1990s does not exist anymore. Economic inequality has run rampant in New York as it has in many metropolitan cities. Bill Moyers, economist reported that “Among our largest, richest 20 metro areas, less than 50 percent of the homes are affordable.’ In New York City, he said, ‘Inequality in housing has reached Dickensian dimensions’” (Winship). This paper will explore how the economic inequality is undermining the very democratic principles that shaped this country. When there’s too much…
For example, the possibility exists that one site was a specialized food production area; it remains unknown if the occupants were farmers, herders or involved in a variety of activities. Similarly, another site may be a specialized elite compound. Evidence of food processing in rooms located at the bottom of the mound and storage jars in the center of the building, indicate that the elite may have fulfilled more than one function or specific individuals had access to certain areas of the building for food processing.
In addition, the elite and farmers were dependant on each other. The theory is if one of these sites produced food daily for the other, elites most likely had the means to ensure that food supplies were provided. Thus, it can be supposed, notes Dionne (2002) that the elite power was based on a redistribution system and exchanged services or resources against food. That…
1969 Introduction. In Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, edited by Fredrik Barth, pp. 9-38. Little, Brown and Co., Boston.
1996 the Moche. Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
It is impossible in six short pages to fully comprehend the attitudes that hite Americans had to Native Indians and black Americans in the early centuries of our nation's founding. That was m not my intent. My goal rather, was to illustrate first that although we are often presented a dominant narrative as the narrative, the truth is that in surveying American attitudes towards American Indians and Blacks a single cohesive narrative does not exist. If such a narrative did exist the Native American Seminole tribe of Florida would not exist. The Seminoles were a tri-racial tribe composed of Creek Indians, remainders of smaller tribes, runaway slaves and whites who preferred to live in Indian society (Loewen). The First and Second Seminole wars (1816-18, 1835-42) in which the Seminoles fought against invading hites who demanded that they surrender their African-American members, were fought not for economic value but to eliminate…
Jordan, Winthrop D. White Over Black:American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812. University of North Carolina Press., 1995.
Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Miller, Eric. George Washington and the Indians. 1994. 25 March 2010 .
Root, Maria. Love's Revolution: Interracial Marriage. Temple University Press, 2001.