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Published: 06-11-2019

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Conflict Theory in Nickeled and Dimed

The middle class of America is gradually disappearing. Over the previous few decades, the capability of the typical American to afford a living wage has been deteriorating, with several citizens becoming forced to hold two or even three jobs at a time just to make ends meet. In the non-fiction book Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Receiving by in America, writer Barbara Ehrenreich showcases these difficulties by going undercover and living life via the low wages obtainable to numerous Americans in an attempt to live in three distinct cities in America for a month every, with a objective of earning the subsequent month’s rent within that very first month of function. Throughout her endeavors, she finds a lot of struggles each with her personal circumstance and the situations of the numerous coworkers she meets along the way, showcasing the true-world occurrences of the social conflict theory, both by way of the class-based interactions in between staff and their employers and via immersion in relationships amongst personnel themselves.

In Nickeled and Dimed, Ehrenreich put herself into the planet of the poor working citizen, establishing a low-rent living situation and operating a low-wage job, and trying to locate if she can acquire the essential funds to reside in each location. She lived in every region with a aim of discovering the highest wage job she could maintain, the lowest expense housing obtainable, and not falling back on her preceding skills of perform. She claimed the approach as sort of like an experiment, and although she just wanted to see if she could discover a way to afford rent off of the low-wage jobs, her experiences led to a strong sociological analysis of the effects of class systems on low-wage workers.

Barbara Ehrenreich begins off Nickeled and Dimed in the City of Key West, Florida, a city that was close to her residence. She initially rents a trailer to live in, and acquires a job functioning as a waitress at a tiny restaurant in the location. Ehrenreich finds that the waitress job alone would not be sufficient to assistance herself and gets a second job as maid at a nearby hotel, but she soon finds the job also physically demanding and leaves. Right after 2 weeks, she comes to the conclusion that she can't afford to pay rent, and moves on. The second city Ehrenreich lives in is Portland, Maine. Right here she is unable to find an apartment, but requires benefit of the abundance of weekly rent hotels, locating an affordable hotel area to live in for a month. She once again requires on two jobs, one particular as a housekeeper on weekdays, and yet another as a dietary aide in a nursing house for the duration of the weekend. She manages to make her rent for the month barely, but specifics the poor operating circumstances of the housekeepers. The third city that Ehrenreich attempts to reside in the Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here she is unable to uncover a spot to live due to quite low vacancy, and ends up in a weekly motel with no bolt on the door. She gets a job at the local Wal-Mart, but it is extremely low-paying and she is unable to consume anything far more than rapidly food in order to afford her housing. Ehrenreich information the inner workings of how the Wal-Mart treated the staff, and her failed attempts to get them to join a union and demand far better therapy. This month, like the first, was met with failure to preserve housing.

The largest sociological theory that is displayed in Nickeled and Dimed is the Marxist-based conflict theory. Conflict theory states that amongst various groups and people that have differing levels of energy or wealth, the a lot more potent group will use that energy to exploit the weaker groups. In the case of the low-wage workers at the various jobs Ehrenreich worked at, they were continually treated poorly by their employers, typically getting demeaned and insulted, and otherwise looked down upon. Florida’s example of conflict theory at perform was with one particular of Ehrenreich’s coworkers, a Czech dishwasher whom she refers to as George. George did not speak English extremely nicely at all, and as a outcome there was a heavy language barrier. Within the 1st week of working, some products are found to be missing, and George is accused of stealing from the firm. Unfortunately, with the language barrier, George is unable to defend his case, and gets fired from the firm as a outcome.

The housekeeping job in Portland, Maine, had a demeaning training video, which represents conflict theory quite properly. The video was set up in such a way that it appeared to be created for young children. In one part, the man giving the guidelines even says, “See, I am the vacuum cleaner.” Possessing the video set up as if it were for kids displays how the business views its employees, as unintelligent folks, unable to do something effectively without dumbed-down instructions. The staff are treated with further disrespect as wellness-based troubles had been largely ignored, only acknowledged with the simple remark of “work by way of it.”

The fear stricken into the lower class by the dominance of the upper class in conflict theory is showcased by the behaviors of 1 of the staff at the housekeeping job. The employee, referred to as Holly, refused to seek healthcare focus right after injuring her ankle, in spite of being unable to walk with no getting in discomfort. Holly feared that if her scenario prevented her from operating for even a short even though, she would lose her job and be unable to keep her meager living situation intact. Later it became apparent that Holly was pregnant similarly, she refused to bring any sort of focus to it, in fear of losing her job entirely. It wasn’t till Ehrenreich asked for Holly to get health-related attention that she was allowed a day off to see a medical doctor. Since of this level of worry, the upper class maintains its level of control over the lower class.

Wal-Mart displayed the concept of conflict theory with its sub-par remedy of personnel as effectively. When Ehrenreich worked at the Minneapolis Wal-Mart, she located that the operate was stressful and monotonous from the immediate the interview began. The interview involved a series of queries created to make the potential employee really feel under severe scrutiny from the start, which includes several moral dilemmas such as dealing with coworker theft and dishonesty. This stage was instantly followed up by a drug test, displaying an implied distrust for any possible personnel and an assumption that drugs are the norm among the applicants. These practices displayed how the upper and middle class employers of corporations automatically assume the worst from the decrease class employees, and operate to place them down. The orientation procedure involved eight hours of tedious, repetitive teachings of Wal-Mart’s ideologies and propaganda, a lot of it stressing how amazing Wal-Mart is as a company. As soon as really employed at the Wal-Mart, Ehrenreich located that the personnel would continue to be place down for each and every minor situation that came up. For instance, one particular of the managers, referred to as Howard, would hound more than any workers that would start talking, accusing them of “time theft,” or the act of not actively functioning even though on the clock. In addition, Ehrenreich brings up a nature of competitors that in the end proves unhealthy. With the decrease class employees being put into a position where they feel they have to prove their worth to the employers, each and every little mistake gets brought up by coworkers and is employed to ridicule the perpetrator of the error. With these troubles constantly brought to the surface, workers begin to dislike every other such corporate strategy assists to maintain the personnel from cooperating in a way that could advantage themselves over their employers and the firm as a entire.

Eventually, the troubles of conflict theory are amplified by the ratio of earnings to the cost of living. With even the low cost housing possibilities being way out of reach for numerous low-wage citizens, the potential for many of these workers to make sufficient cash to appropriately support themselves can be incredibly difficult. Ehrenreich reveals the low-wage workplace environment as a spot where standard civil liberties are stripped away, as men and women are created to perform long hours for tiny reward, making their tough function all for virtually practically nothing. The upper class puts out the illusion that the cure for poverty as a whole is just employment, but Ehrenreich’s experiences, and those of many of her coworkers all through the experiment, display the truth that simple employment is often not adequate to get by in today’s society and economy. Sadly, with the belief program in spot that the poor continue to be poor simply out of laziness and poor operate ethic, the middle and upper class continue to dominate the lower class, with little to no action taken to really address the poverty level.

Barbara Ehrenreich thoroughly displays the reality of the social conflict theory by way of her expertise dealing with poverty-level wages in Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Obtaining By in America. Numerous of the jobs that are very easily attainable for the poor place them into positions where they are minimally cared for by their employers and are provided wages that are insufficient for decent quality of life. Even the hardest-operating staff of several of these firms are left with out enough income to play rent each and every month. With the upper class employers capable to manage wages, hours, and anticipated function needs, the lower class staff are forced to perform longer and tougher for small reward, often becoming forced to eat unhealthily or in modest amounts, or otherwise operate in conditions that carry the possibility of personal injury. Ehrenreich’s experiences showcased the not possible odds that many men and women go by means of basically to live a normal life in America, and how their employers do tiny to help them along the way. This dominance of the upper class more than the poor is the accurate exemplification of social conflict theory.
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