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Barbara Ehrenreich

Born August 26, 1941 (1941-08-26) (age 68)
Butte, Montana
Occupation social critic, journalist, author, activist
Genres nonfiction, investigative journalism

Barbara Ehrenreich (born August 26, 1941, Butte, Montana; pronounced /ˈɛrɨnraɪk/)[1] is an American feminist, democratic socialist, pop sociologist and political activist, a prominent figure in the Democratic Socialists of America. She is a widely read columnist and essayist, and the author of nearly 20 books.

Contents

Biography

Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Alexander. Her father was a copper miner who went on to study at Carnegie Mellon University and who eventually became an executive at the Gillette Corporation. Ehrenreich studied physics at Reed College, graduating in 1963. Her senior thesis was entitled Electrochemical oscillations of the silicon anode. In 1968, she received a Ph.D in cellular biology from Rockefeller University.

Citing her interest in social change,[2] she opted for political activism instead of pursuing a scientific career. She met her first husband, John Ehrenreich, during an anti-war activism campaign in New York City.

In 1970, her first child, Rosa (now Rosa Brooks), was born. Her second child, Benjamin, was born in 1972. Barbara and John divorced and in 1983 she married Gary Stevenson, a warehouse employee who later became a union organizer. She divorced Stevenson in the early 1990s.

From 1991 to 1997, Ehrenreich was a regular columnist for Time magazine. Currently, she contributes regularly to The Progressive and has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications.

In 1998, the American Humanist Association named her the Humanist of the Year.

In 1998 and 2000, she taught essay writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2004, Ehrenreich wrote a month-long guest column for the New York Times while regular columnist Thomas Friedman was on leave and she was invited to stay on as a columnist. She declined, saying that she preferred to spend her time more on long-term activities, such as book-writing.

Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the release of her book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. In her article "Welcome to Cancerland," published in the November 2001 issue of Harper's Magazine, she describes her breast cancer experience and debates the medical industry's problems with the issue of breast cancer.

In 2006, Ehrenreich founded United Professionals, an organization described as "a nonprofit, non-partisan membership organization for white-collar workers, regardless of profession or employment status. We reach out to all unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed workers — people who bought the American dream that education and credentials could lead to a secure middle class life, but now find their lives disrupted by forces beyond their control."[3]

Ehrenreich is currently an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also serves on the NORML Board of Directors and The Nation's Editorial Board.

In 2000 Ehrenreich endorsed the Presidential campaign of Ralph Nader.[4] In February 2008, Ehrenreich expressed support for Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.[5]

Books

Ehrenreich at a New York Times discussion

Non-fiction

  • The Uptake, Storage, and Intracellular Hydrolysis of Carbohydrates by Macrophages (with Zanvil Cohn) (1969)
  • Long March, Short Spring: The Student Uprising at Home and Abroad (with John Ehrenreich) (1969)
  • The American Health Empire: Power, Profits, and Politics (with John Ehrenreich and Health PAC) (1971)
  • Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (with Deirdre English) (1972)
  • Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (with Deirdre English) (1973)
  • For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women (with Deirdre English) (1978)
  • Women in the Global Factory (1983)
  • Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex (with Elizabeth Hess and Gloria Jacobs) (1986)
  • The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment (1983)
  • The Mean Season (with Fred L. Block, Richard A. Cloward, and Frances Fox Piven) (1987)
  • Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)
  • The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed (1990)
  • Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (1997)
  • The Snarling Citizen: Essays (1995)
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America (2001)
  • Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy (ed., with Arlie Hochschild) (2003)
  • Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005)
  • Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (2007)
  • This Land is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation (2008)
  • Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (2009). In the United Kingdom this book is called Smile Or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World

Fiction

  • Kipper's Game (1993)

Essays

Translations

Dutch:

  • Achterkant van de Amerikaanse droom (Nickel and Dimed), 2005
  • Gouden Bergen (Bait and Switch), 2006

German:

  • Die Herzen der Männer, 1984
  • Hexen, Hebammen und Krankenschwestern, 1987
  • Gesprengte Fesseln, 1988
  • Angst vor dem Absturz, 1994
  • Blutrituale, 1999
  • Arbeit poor. Unterwegs in der Dienstleistungsgesellschaft, 2001

Finnish:

  • Nälkäpalkalla (Nickel and Dimed), 2003
  • Petetty keskiluokka (Bait and Switch), 2006

French:

  • L'Amérique pauvre: Comment ne pas survivre en travaillant, 2005

Hebrew:

  • נשים בקו-הייצור העולמי, 1987.
  • כלכלה בגרוש: איך (לא) להצליח באמריקה, 2004.
  • האישה הגלובלית: מטפלות, עוזרות ועובדות מין בכלכלה החדשה, 2006.

Italian:

  • Riti di sangue, 1998

Spanish:

  • Por cuatro duros: Cómo (no) apañárselas en Estados Unidos, 2003

Swedish:

  • Det manliga hjärtat: revolten mot försörjarrollen, 1984
  • Barskrapad: konsten att hanka sig fram, 2002

Portuguese:

  • Ritos de Sangue: Um estudo sobre as origens da guerra, 2000
  • Salário de Pobreza: Como (não) sobreviver na América, 2004

Japanese:

  • われらの生涯の最悪の年 / バーバラ・エーレンライク 著 ; 中村輝子 訳. -- 晶文社, 1992.
  • 「中流」という階級 / バーバラ・エーレンライク著 ; 中江桂子訳. -- 晶文社, 1995
  • ニッケル・アンド・ダイムド : アメリカ下流社会の現実 / バーバラ・エーレンライク著 ; 曽田和子訳. -- 東洋経済新報社, 2006
  • 捨てられるホワイトカラー : 格差社会アメリカで仕事を探すということ / バーバラ・エーレンライク著 ; 曽田和子訳. -- 東洋経済新報社, 2007

Thai:

  • คำให้การของคนเปื้อนเหงื่อ (Nickel and Dimed), 2006

References

  1. ^ The CMU Pronouncing Dictionary
  2. ^ "Notable Writer: Barbara Ehrenreich". Literary Nonfiction at the University of Oregon. http://lnf.uoregon.edu/notable/ehrenreich.html. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  3. ^ "About United Professionals". United Professionals. http://www.unitedprofessionals.org/about/. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  4. ^ Nader's Top Endorsers From 2000 Urge "Swing States" Support for Kerry, Common Dreams, Sept. 14, 2004
  5. ^ "Unstoppable Obama" February 14, 2008

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Barbara Ehrenreich (born 1941-08-26) is a journalist, social critic and honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Sourced

  • No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.
    • "Family Values," The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed (1991)

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (2001)

[ISBN 0-8050-6389-7]

  • I complain to one of my fellow servers that I don't understand how she can go so long without food. "Well, I don't understand how you can go so long without a cigarette," she responds in a tone of reproach. Because work is what you do for others; smoking is what you do for yourself.
    • Ch. 1: Serving in Florida (p. 31)
  • What these tests tell employers about potential employees is hard to imagine, since the "right" answers should be obvious to anyone who has ever encountered the principle of hierarchy and subordination. Do I work well with others? You bet, but never to the point where I would hesitate to inform on them for the slightest infraction. Am I capable of independent decision making? Oh yes, but I know better than to let this capacity interfere with a slavish obedience to orders. At The Maids, a housecleaning service, I am given something called the "Accutrac personality test," which warns at the beginning that "Accutrac has multiple measures which detect attempts to distort or 'psych out' the questionnaire." Naturally, I "never" find it hard "to stop moods of self-pity," nor do I imagine that others are talking about me behind my back or believe that "management and employees will always be in conflict because they have totally different sets of goals." The real function of these tests, I decide, is to convey information not to the employer but to the potential employee, and the information conveyed is always: You will have no secrets from us.
    • Ch. 2: Scrubbing in Maine (p. 59)
  • In the new version of the law of supply and demand, jobs are so cheap — as measured by the pay — that a worker is encouraged to take on as many of them as she possibly can.
    • Ch. 2: Scrubbing in Maine (p. 60)
  • Maybe it's low-wage work in general that has the effect of making you feel like a pariah. When I watch TV over my dinner at night, I see a world in which almost everyone makes $15 an hour or more, and I'm not just thinking of the anchor folks. The sitcoms and dramas are about fashion designers or schoolteachers or lawyers, so it's easy for a fast-food worker or nurse's aide to conclude that she is an anomaly — the only one, or almost the only one, who hasn't been invited to the party. And in a sense she would be right: the poor have disappeared from the culture at large, from its political rhetoric and intellectual endeavors as well as from its daily entertainment. Even religion seems to have little to say about the plight of the poor, if that tent revival was a fair sample. The moneylenders have finally gotten Jesus out of the temple.
    • Ch. 2: Scrubbing in Maine (pp. 117-118)
  • At Wal-Mart, a co-worker once advised me that, although I had a lot to learn, it was also important not to "know too much," or at least never to reveal one's full abilities to management, because "the more they think you can do, the more they'll use you and abuse you." My mentors in these matters were not lazy; they just understood that there are few or no rewards for heroic performance. The trick lies in figuring out how to budget your energy so there'll be some left over for the next day.
    • Evaluation (p. 195)
  • If low-wage workers do not always behave in an economically rational way, that is, as free agents within a capitalist democracy, it is because they dwell in a place that is neither free nor in any way democratic. When you enter the low-wage workplace — and many of the medium-wage workplaces as well — you check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of the shift. The consequences of this routine surrender go beyond the issues of wages and poverty. We can hardly pride ourselves on being the world's preeminent democracy, after all, if large numbers of citizens spend half their waking hours in what amounts, in plain terms, to a dictatorship.
    • Evaluation (p. 210)
  • The appropriate emotion is shame — shame at our own dependency, in this case, on the underpaid labor of others. When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The "working poor," as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.
    • Evaluation (p. 221)

External links

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