Roberta's Autobiography

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As a huge advocate for the permanent urban underclass, I enjoyed the Katherine Newman readings, Getting Stuck, Moving Up and Getting a Job in the Inner City. Specifically, what stood out with these readings was the methodical approach that she took while examining individuals within the lower class who were searching for the pathway towards upward mobility. Instead of presenting them as statistical figures or solely through a sociological lens to explain the trappings of inner-city poverty, she took a mixture of both with an anthropological technique. By providing the reader with her struggles towards a better economic position as well as short but compelling narratives about people who wished to do the same, she presented an incredibly rich examination of a cluster of individuals who are often misunderstood and demoralized based on their position within the socioeconomic hierarchy. There were moments when she was slightly condescending (referring to her subjects as “burger flippers”) and seemed to have a limited scope when describing the rudiments of youth culture (when she suggests that the youth are dismissive and assert an aggressive form of independence), but these instances did not taint the…show more content…
She lacked any sort of safety net for her family in the form of health or life insurance or retirement benefits, but continued to put forth significant efforts to find a civil service job, which she believed was her ticket out. Or Ron, who had the opportunity to use his “network” to further his chances but encountered a verbally abusive and non-supportive sister. These kinds of stories reveal that like many middle and upper class Americans, these poor individuals also want what is best for themselves as well as their

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