Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Conflict Theory in Nickeled and Dimed College

The middle class of America is slowly disappearing. Over the past few decades, the ability of the average American to afford a living wage has been deteriorating, with many citizens being 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) Getting by in America, writer Barbara Ehrenreich showcases these difficulties by going undercover and living life through the low wages available to many Americans in an attempt to live in three different cities in America for a month each, with a goal of earning the next month’s rent within that first month of work. Throughout her endeavors, she finds many struggles both with her own situation and the situations of the many coworkers she meets along the way, showcasing the real-world occurrences of the social conflict theory, both through the class-based interactions between employees and their employers and through immersion in relationships among employees themselves.

In Nickeled and Dimed, Ehrenreich put herself into the world of the poor working citizen, establishing a low-rent living situation and working a low-wage job, and trying to find if she can acquire the necessary funds to live in each area. She lived in...

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