Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
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The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed explored the lives of low-wage workers. Now, in Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a middle-class job—undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and—again and again—rejected. Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right—gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés—yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today's ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their "surplus" employees—plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers—and little security even for those who have jobs. Like the now classic Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch is alternately hilarious and tragic, a searing exposé of economic cruelty where we least expect it.
THE STORY: Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive, when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7-an-hour job won't pay the rent: she'll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a
This provocative book reveals how the real sexual revolution was initiated by women -- not men -- and how it transformed both our behavior and our understanding of what sex means in our lives.
Current and relevant to today's students, SOCIOLOGY IN OUR TIMES: THE ESSENTIALS, 10th Edition presents the latest available data and new insights on behaviors, issues, and trends in our nation and world from a sociological perspective. The new edition of this bestselling text emphasizes the theme of social change and the ways in which media-particularly social media-and other forms of technology inevitably bring about new ways of living, interacting with others, or doing certain activities or task. New sections on social change have been added throughout the book, and the theme also appears in the “Sociology Works!” and “Media” features. “Sociology and Social Policy” boxes return to this edition, examining issues such as gun control, prevention of military suicides, and whether employers should be allowed to “spy” on their employees. First-person accounts of individuals' lived experiences draw students into the chapter content by illuminating topics that reflect the text's primary themes of diversity, the application of sociology to everyday life, global comparisons, media, and social change. New timely topics include environmental activism, immigration, bullying and social media, and same-sex marriage. Important Notice: Media content referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.
From the bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, an explanation of recent sexual culture and the loosening of marriage bonds in recent history. "Finally someone is offering a new, utterly plausible explanation...of loosening marriage bonds. According to Barbara Ehrenreich...it is men who started walking off, in search of freedom from their stifling role of breadwinner/success-machine. The shock—and exhilaration—of this book comes from the recognition that here is a woman who has dared to look beyond the everyday assumptions about love and commitment to examine which bonds between men and women can endure and which may last forever.”--Vogue
What lies behind the human attraction to violence? Why do we glorify war, seeing it as an almost sacred undertaking? Barbara Ehrenreich is known for the originality and clarity of her thinking, and in Blood Rites she proposes a radical new theory about our attitudes to bloodshed. From the trenches of Verdun to today's front lines, Ehrenreich traces the history of warfare back to our prehistoric ancestors' terrifying experiences of being hunted by other carnivores. Written with wit, tenacity and intellectual flair, this is vintage Ehrenreich, and an account that will transform our understanding of human conflict.
From the bestselling social commentator and cultural historian, a fascinating exploration of one of humanity's oldest traditions: the celebration of communal joy In the acclaimed Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich delved into the origins of our species' attraction to war. Here, she explores the opposite impulse, one that has been so effectively suppressed that we lack even a term for it: the desire for collective joy, historically expressed in ecstatic revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing. Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal celebration in human biology and culture. Although sixteenth-century Europeans viewed mass festivities as foreign and "savage," Ehrenreich shows that they were indigenous to the West, from the ancient Greeks' worship of Dionysus to the medieval practice of Christianity as a "danced religion." Ultimately, church officials drove the festivities into the streets, the prelude to widespread reformation: Protestants criminalized carnival, Wahhabist Muslims battled ecstatic Sufism, European colonizers wiped out native dance rites. The elites' fear that such gatherings would undermine social hierarchies was justified: the festive tradition inspired French revolutionary crowds and uprisings from the Caribbean to the American plains. Yet outbreaks of group revelry persist, as Ehrenreich shows, pointing to the 1960s rock-and-roll rebellion and the more recent "carnivalization" of sports. Original, exhilarating, and deeply optimistic, Dancing in the Streets concludes that we are innately social beings, impelled to share our joy and therefore able to envision, even create, a more peaceable future.
We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds and even our deaths. Yet emerging science challenges our assumptions of mastery: at the microscopic level, the cells in our bodies facilitate tumours and attack other cells, with life-threatening consequences. In this revelatory book, Barbara Ehrenreich argues that our bodies are a battleground over which we have little control, and lays bare the cultural charades that shield us from this knowledge. Challenging everything we think we know about life and death, she also offers hope - that we find our place in a natural world teeming with animation and endless possibility.