Sociology of Poverty

Sociology of Poverty Week 11 Overview
This week we continue our exploration of social institutions and poverty by discussing the interaction between poverty and work.

After completing this module, students should be able to:
Explain how poverty affects access to and quality of jobs and work
Identify how inequality related to poverty affects life chances and life trajectories within a career context
Challenge preconceived ideas about how poverty and work intersect

Watch Unnatural Causes episode “Not Just a Paycheck” on Kanopy Kanopy – Stream Classic Cinema, Indie Film and Top Documentaries

• Read the selections from Ehrenreich’s Nickle & Dimed, and your choice of either Gautie and Ponthieux’s Employment and the Working Poor or Smith’s Job-Finding Among The Poor: Do Social Ties Matter?

• Submit free-form essay on work and poverty. Be sure that your essay contains no fewer than one full page of text, and is double-spaced in Arial 12pt font with 1 inch margins. You may upload in .doc, .docx or .pdf format. No other formats will be accepted.
• Post in at least two of the Discussions for the week and reply to some of your classmates
Choose two prompts from the following list and answer them in at least five sentences each. Clearly list which prompt you are responding to. Stating the prompt you will respond to does not count as a sentence of the five minimum requirement.
Prompt 1 – For this prompt, you will respond with your thoughts on at least one section of the Ehrenreich Nickled and Dimed reading.
Prompt 2 – For this prompt, you will respond with your thoughts on the the Gautie and Ponthieux Employment and the Working Poor article.
Prompt 3 – For this prompt, you will respond with your thoughts on the the Smith Job-Finding Among the Poor: Do Social Ties Matter? article.

Prompt 1 – In Ehrenreich’s Nickle & Dimed, the author explores the challenges faced by low-wage workers. Discuss your thoughts on the section that discusses the physical toll of low-wage work.

In the section of Ehrenreich’s Nickle & Dimed that discusses the physical toll of low-wage work, I was struck by the author’s descriptions of the pain and discomfort experienced by workers who were constantly on their feet or engaging in physically demanding tasks. As someone who has worked in retail and food service, I can relate to some of the experiences described in the book, such as foot pain and exhaustion.

However, what stood out to me was how the physical toll of low-wage work can impact workers’ ability to perform their job and maintain their livelihood. For example, the author describes a time when she was unable to keep up with the physical demands of her job and was eventually fired. This highlights the precariousness of low-wage work and the lack of support for workers who may be unable to physically continue their job.

Furthermore, the author also touches on the issue of healthcare for low-wage workers, who may not have access to affordable healthcare or be able to take time off work to recover from an injury or illness. This can exacerbate the physical toll of low-wage work and make it even more challenging for workers to maintain their livelihood.

Overall, this section of the book highlights the importance of addressing the physical toll of low-wage work and providing support for workers to ensure that they are able to maintain their health and well-being while also earning a living wage.

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