Do you struggle to find equilibrium between excelling at work and spending productive, quality time with loved ones at home? With the technology that is available in the twenty first century, it is now possible for educated professionals to decide whether they would like to work from home and collaborate with family members to meet work demands. Alesia Montgomery is an African American Ethnographer who wrote “Kitchen Conferences and Garage Cubicles: The Merger of Home and Work in the 24-7 Global Economy”. This study was one of many published in 2008’s book entitled The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class: Reports From the Field, which focused on “providing insights into the changing nature of working families in the United States” (1008). Montgomery’s main argument is that today’s modern society and global economy have enabled families to “merge work and home in quasi-entrepreneurial ways” (1018), which will in turn deepen the attachment between family members. Her secondary claim is that the merging of these two worlds does not come without a downside; your home will no longer “serve as a refuge from job pressures” (1018) and job demands may be “made more invasive by the use of innovative communication technology” (1019). The main purpose of this essay is to identify and analyze Montgomery’s main and secondary arguments, to describe two types of support she uses, how they help her claims, and to identify her intended audience. Montgomery proposes that “transformations in gender relations, management strategies, and technological practices” (1018) play integral roles in the opportunities for families to decide how to combine or balance their home lives with work demands. She goes on to state that women’s access to equal education and equal employment opportunities have “expanded the possibilities for spousal collaboration in technical professions” (1010), and that being able to collaborate on work projects at home will create a more intimate and interdependent family. She then provides statistics showing the percentage of women graduating with a degree in engineering jumped 16.5% in just 30 years (1011). The statistics provide hard evidence to her claim that women are gaining increasing access to technology based jobs, and appeals to the reader’s logos. Montgomery spent a period of five years in the field following a couple in their thirties, who were living in one of these collaborative, “job-sharing” (1012) middle class families in order to obtain “a view of the world from their perspective” (1008). Basing her argument off this research provides a stronger emotional connection to the writing than if Montgomery were to use sweeping generalizations throughout. Montgomery structures her essay in a narrative format, writing in the first person. She was successful at attempting to appeal to her audience’s ethos by making her writing less formal while keeping an educated voice. The writing opens with an introduction to Marjenah and Steve, who share a home with Marjenah’s parents in Silicon Valley. Montgomery appeals to her readers’ pathos by illustrating the family’s world: “Emails, faxes and phone calls linked their home to high-tech firms within Silicon Valley. Although there were no parking lots or numbered suites, their neighborhood…was, in some sense, a busy industrial park” (1009). Montgomery recalls the different ways in which they rely upon each other, and states that the interdependence this family possesses is an opportunity for each member help one another handle job demands. She details the countless nights Steve spent on his wife’s projects after getting home from his job as well as the way Marjenah was needed to proof read Steve’s reports and to review her mother’s paperwork for her department store job. The father worked at an outside tech firm, but served as the family’s technical support (1016). This ethnographic research directly relates to her main...
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