RP #4 - Page |1 Megan Kellen SOC 200 Foundations of...

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P a g e | 1 Megan Kellen SOC 200 – Foundations of Sociology Research Paper #3 – October 4 th , 2007 Living in Poverty and School Segregation In the first reading Nickel-and-Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, she analyzes how unskilled workers survive on low wages in America. She researched back-to-work programs effectiveness in getting women back into the labor market by putting herself into this low-wage work force. Ehrenreich leaves behind her home, money, job, and people she loves in order to be as realistic as possible in living as a low-wage, non skilled worker. Although, as she mentions, she may not be able to really experience what it feels like to not have an entirely different life as a back up. This experiment, Ehrenreich explains, “is a purely objective, scientific sort of mission. The humanitarian rationale for welfare reform – as opposed to the more punitive and stingy impulses that may actually have motivated it – is that work will lift poor women out of poverty…” (Ehrenreich 1999). Ehrenreich advertises herself as a divorced homemaker on application forms. She finds a cabin in a swamp area to live in which is thirty minutes away from the employment opportunities of Key West where she lives. She seemed to have little trouble finding a job as a waitress in a hotel restaurant where she makes $2.43 an hour plus tips. Management at her workplace treats her and her co-workers as junior high school students, enforcing drug testing and no gossip rules. Her co-workers all seem to have less than suitable living conditions which is information they
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RP #4 - Page |1 Megan Kellen SOC 200 Foundations of...

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