University of California Men and Jobs The Problems with Employment Paper

University of California Men and Jobs The Problems with Employment Paper

This past week we focused on choice and constraint. As stated during lecture, thinking in terms of “choices” and “constraints” is one of the most fundamental ways we can see how social forces shape individual behaviors. By thinking about behavior in terms of choices and constraints, we can begin developing solid sociological explanations for almost any human behavior that catches our eye.

This week you will have three essay options. Please choose one:

Option #1
I want you to read “Men and Jobs,” which is a chapter from a 1960s social study about unemployed men in Washington, DC. (Yes, I am assigning you reading that is more than 50 years old. It’s not a painful read. I promise. It is located on our course website).

The chapter “Men and Jobs” begins compellingly. A truck drives up and down the streets of a Washington, DC neighborhood. The driver of the truck calls out the window toward a group of men, trying to recruit any one of them for “day labor,” where the men would exchange several hours of work for some cash. But many of these men, who are routinely unemployed, turn down the truck driver’s job offer. This is puzzling. Why would an unemployed man turn down any job/opportunity to make money? How can we explain this seemingly irrational behavior?

After reading “Men and Jobs” in its entirety, I want you to return to the chapter’s opening scene — where the unemployed men refuse the truck driver’s job offer — and then examine that behavior (to turn down the job offer) in terms of choices and constraints. In doing so, please address the following questions: Why do the unemployed men featured in this chapter choose not to hop on the truck and go to work? What are the things operating in their lives that constrain them from accepting the job offer? All things considered, does turning down the job seem like an irrational choice for the unemployed man to make? Why or why not?

I want you to answer those questions in your own words. Do not simply repeat what the author of the “Men and Jobs” chapter has already written.

This essay must be between 700-800 words. Submit your finished essays to our Canvas site before 9am, Friday, November 8th.

Option #2

During lecture on Friday, I talked about Elijah Anderson’s “The Code of the Streets” and we also watched part of the documentary, “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City.” Drawing upon the reading and documentary, please answer the following three sets of questions:

1) In your own words, what is the code of the street?

2) As you watched the documentary “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City” did you notice examples of the code of the street? Please explain and illustrate.

3) For many young African American men who live in America’s inner cities, they can become trapped in a vicious cycle of hopelessness and alienation. Why don’t they get a job? Why don’t they stop the violent behavior? Is it easy to break out of the vicious cycle they find themselves in? Why or why not?

This essay must be between 700-800 words. Submit your finished essay