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Unformatted text preview: Dehumanization in Everyday Life By: Erica Lee Introduction It is merely impossible to fully grasp an individual’s circumstances, the emotional and mental state one is encountering in life. However, the closest way anyone can comprehend an individual’s situation is to be in their shoes and that is what sociologist and writer Barbara Ehrenreich notably did and publicized in her book. In order to get a glimpse of how society dehumanizes and affects our identities, I decided to use my sociological imagination to reflect on what was part of my life and the way it affected my identity in the social realm. Putting on the lens of a sociologist, my father’s business intrigued new way of thinking; he is the ruler of a bureaucracy, an owner of two deli stores in Manhattan. The twenty-first century, an era defined by industrialization and the striving for capital, brings serious social issues such as inequality which interconnects with how society has deindividualized the working class. By incorporating the class materials and keeping my father’s employees in mind, I established a picture of the working conditions as well as the hardships people face in a society that perpetrates dehumanization. Part 1 “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich is based on a personal and true account that depict the reality of the world which are the degrading working conditions and unpleasant living styles of the low wage working class. She approaches the scenes, the different jobs, through qualitative research method and demonstrates the dehumanization of the working environment she encounters. The low wage workers experience dehumanization in Ehrenreich’s personal account through two different yet distinct aspects. The first feature of dehumanization represented in the book was surveillance. This is seen in her first career as a waitress. For example, Ehrenreich (2001) found that she “spent all those weeks under the surveillance of men (and later women) whose job it was to monitor my [her] behavior for signs of sloth, theft, drug abuse, or worse” (p.22). Workers are constantly watched over by an image like Big Brother in the novel, “1984” that stirred controversy and fear....
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2012 for the course SOC 313 taught by Professor Manis during the Spring '10 term at WPUNJ.
- Spring '10