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Notes from week 13

Notes from week 13 - Kelly Young Soci 101 9 AM Notes from...

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Kelly Young 11/8/09 Soci 101, 9 AM Notes from “Nickel-and-Dimed” Article: Ehrenreich, Barbara. 1999. Nickel-and-Dimed : On (not) Getting by in America in Mapping Ed. Susan Ferguson. 292-305. This article discusses the welfare reform and whether a poor woman could be lifted out of poverty and have a future in the labor market. Barbara Ehrenreich did a field study beginning in June of 1998, describing what it was like to live and work on wages most unskilled workers receive in America. First, she found a place to live in the Key West for $500 to $600 a month in rent. This was virtually impossible to obtain for a decent living situation. The $675 a month rent for a trailer park there included no air conditioning, no television a 15 minute drive from town, and more or less something to “aspire to.” The reason behind the field study was simply to experience being poor and to feel what it would be like to be a long term low-income person in America. The main question was whether it was [possible to live on a low-income wage. The anser that Barbara discovered was that it was not possible to do this. The welfare woman’s average for less than 8 dollars an hour was 30 percent of the population and these women also had an average of 2 children. The hospitality industry was the area that had available positions. She interviews with an unenthusiastic manager who hired Ehrenreich as a waitress and she began working at Hearthside, a restaurant chain in hotels. Competence was the thing Ehrenreich said she missed the most. She expected insight and discussion on good business tactics at company meetings; however they are full of criticism and gossip instead. She felt like she was being treated like she was in junior highs chool with drug tests and line-ups. Ehrenreich’s job did not sustain her living requirements. She discovered in poverty start up conditions are everything. You cannot save money on food by cooking a lot and freezing it
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because you have no where to store it in a week rented living condition. She tried to do two jobs at once but she was too worn down to keep it up so she kept her new job and quit her old one. The new job, Jerry’s showed her the loss of bravery and conformity that exists in the lower class. The example was with an employee George who was accused of stealing from the storage room. He could barely speak any English and probably only took food because he was hungry.
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Notes from week 13 - Kelly Young Soci 101 9 AM Notes from...

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