Critical Book Review of No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman Essay

Critical Book Review of No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman Essay

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Critical Book Review of No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman

When someone thinks of the poor they instantly imagine a homeless man sleeping in a cardboard box or the nearest garbage can, but the working poor especially in the inner-city is commonly overlooked by society. However the working poor, in this case the working poor in the inner-city, are people advancing to try and make their lives better. They are taking minimum wage jobs so that they can barely afford a roof over their heads. Within Katherine Newman?s novel No Shame In My Game, she studies the working poor in the inner-city to draw conclusions about how to help them and dispute common stereotypes and the images people commonly view. Newman?s conclusions along with the way she had conducted her case study will be evaluated for her positive and negative points while searching for any biases she may have portrayed within her novel.

     Even before I started reading Katherine Newman?s novel No Shame In My Game I had learned a little about Newman?s background, which may cause her to have a bias towards her case study. Newman is clearly within the middle class even perhaps towards the upper end. She is a Harvard anthropologist that would seem to have never experienced such situations as her subjects. Like most of the middle class she could simply have thought that the poor were only the few men in cardboard boxes in rough neighborhoods and not truly consider the working poor in the inner-city until the case study was started and her thesis written. This could greatly affect her procedures in observing data with her hundreds of subjects over the span of a few years. The thinking of someone who is not within the working class may flaw the order and process at which the case study was conducted. There may be variables that Newman did not consider and did not research that could change her data and conclusions. Using the social scientific method to collect data and revise her hypothesis involves knowing all the angles and variables that are applied, but if an extra variable were to present itself it would call for a change in the hypothesis. This one change could alter all of Newman?s conclusions and data she presents.

Newman presents her supporting evidence largely with statistics although I do not believe many of her statistics are real world numbers for her exact case study but her observ...


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... values as the middle class does. The working class has to first follow the same cultural values as the middle class if they hope to one day become part of the middle class. This thinking is not entirely flawed but unfortunately it is not enough to raise ones ranking in society.

     Newman had set out to answer a question: ?What might be done to reverse this scenario [the working poor being subjected to a worse lifestyle than the unemployed on welfare] (and what can be done) to build upon the advantages that a life on the job offers? (Newman, xv). I believe she had answered her question in a manner that proves useful and insightful. The conclusions that Newman had drawn where evaluated to being positive on some aspects while neutral on others. However I do not agree with some methods she used and data she used within her case study but nonetheless it still grants the audience a clear view of the working poor in the inner-city. Her slight bias could have caused her to conduct the research and study in a less accurate manner but she has proceeded to explain her train of thought well through the novel. As a whole Newman?s case study grants a view into the ?true? poor of America.

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