A 5 page review of Ehrenreich’s findings on class and power in contemporary America formulated based on her experiences working in numerous blue collar jobs and trying to get by. The contention that the wealthy hold the power, the middle class wield that power, while the poor carry out their wishes with little reward and even littler power themselves is presented. No additional sources are included.
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Barbara Ehrenreichs "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" Provides invaluable insight into a number of aspects of life in our contemporary lives.
The book adds a particularly interesting twist to our understanding of class and how it relates to how power is wielded in contemporary America, however. Ehrenreich not only
provides a textbook definition of class but clearly identifies the various societal factors which interact to define the respective classes. Many authors approach the problem of class in America
from a statistical perspective, a perspective from which most Americans fall into the so-called middle class. Ehrenreich, in contrast, gets somewhat more personal with the definition of class as
it relates to the lowest echelon in American society. A journalist by occupation, Ehrenreich pursues the definition of class from a first person
approach. She actually takes on new identities securing work in the blue collar workforce fulfilling duties ranging from those of a hotel maid, to a waitress in Florida, to
a janitor and nurses aid in a nursing home in Main, to a Wal-Mart employee in Minnesota while attempting to get an handle on that ever elusive definition of class.
Each new work pursuit, however, reveals a startling similar answer to the question of how class relates to power. The answer is that the low paying jobs occupied
in this lowest echelon of society have no power. Indeed, there time is occupied solely with simply trying to just to barely keep their heads above water and little
time is left to devote to trying to get the upper hand or even the middle hand in any type of societal power struggle.