FIRST Option: Low-Wage Service Workers(choice #1)

World capitalism has created here and abroad a huge labor pool of low-wage service workers. Such an economic system has played havoc with an increasingly distressed American labor force, and thus pertinent to our study of the relationship between individual and society.

The emphasis will be on capturing the views of low-wage services insofar as how they perceive their jobs and living conditions (b) secondarily their attempts to organize against their perceived abuse by their corporate employers

When appropriate, you are to use the information from the instructor’s lectures and Eherenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed, and other written materials as a springboard for exploring this topic. in your literature

k Nickel and Dimed, and other written materials as a springboard for exploring this topic. in your literature search. What it is like to work in the environment of fast food restaurants, department stores, and home improvement stores. Or what is like to clean homes, work in day care or do other work in helping others for low wages?

I want you to explore the point of view of low-wage services workers, as, for example, Eherenreich did in her study. It may also be helpful to review C. Wright Mills’ concept of the sociological imagination. You want to see the coping mechanisms and troubles of the low-wage service workers in relation to the American economy and class structure in America today.

This is an opportunity to compile and evaluate what information you have been able to obtain within a limited time frame. You will be asked to interview five interviewees or informants who are currently doing low-wage service work. In terms of wages, make the cut-off earnings of about a maximum of $13 an hour. Presumably most such workers are making around minimum wage that will vary from state to state or city to city.

The point of the paper is to capture the perspective of the low-wage service worker as Eherenreich has done in the global economy of surplus labor. Do take into account that Ehrenreich did not obtain a random sample of the population of low-wage service workers. Like Ehrenreich you are doing an exploratory study with the difference being that Ehrenreich’s study is based on the method of participant observation.

Make a list of questions to guide your literature search. The questions should uncover the work environment, management style, working conditions and wages/health care. What do the interviewees literature about how well they are coping living on low wages and with probably no company sponsored or affordable health care. You might ask if they and co-workers are working on getting or joining a union.

Your bibliography or list of sources should contain what you have actually read. I suggest you include an appendix of quotes you are incorporating in your final paper. AGAIN i STRESS FOR YOU TO CAPTURE THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE LOW-WAGE SERVICE WORKER, BUT KEEPING MIND THE BIGGER PICTURE OF THE AMERICAN CORPORATE CAPITALIST ECONOMY THAT SO LIMITS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PERSONS TO MOVE OUT OF DEAD-END JOBS.


You must first write an introductory paragraph indicating what this paper is about and how you intend to do it. Be sure and define what you mean by low-wage service worker. You will want to include leading questions,

More specifically, You want to structure your paper with the ideas to which you have been exposed so far in the lectures and readings. While we know that individuals have a degree of free choice to better their lives through their own initiative and drive, their options or choices are limited. The system is rigged against them. There are barriers to getting more training and attaining more credentials, and if one should there is no guarantee of a good job.

Your paper should contain the following steps plus keeping in mind the background material cited above:

1 Define low-wage service work along with the purpose of your paper and how you intend to carry it out

2. Select five persons to interview. How you select them is up to you. If you are currently working in a low-wage service job you can interview yourself.

3. Let Ehreneich’s research be your model. Compare your findings to what Ehreneich observed among her co-workers.

4. Body of the paper should contain a picture, a presentation of the world of the low-wage service worker from the perspective of the low-wage service worker. Try to find compilations at the micro-level of what such individuals endure–living on the edge financially. Instability of the work situation. Abuses of management. Get good quotes from your subjects to illustrate how they see their overall situation.

5. To show you are capturing the point of view of each interviewee insert in the body of your paper key statements that the different interviewees have made.

6. Summarize what you found in your overall findings. Be sure and discuss what you learned that you didn’t know before doing the research. What are your recommendations to improve the situation for such workers?

7. The mechanics: aim for about 5-8 pages. Have a reference page listing the books, lectures, and articles that you actually read. List the title and author of at least five sources or citations. An optional appendix would contain quotes from informants and authors you included in your paper. Again I’m leaving it up to you as to the number of references you decide to list in your bibliography.

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