A comprehensive analysis of the experiences of workers in various service-sector occupations to explore how the shift to a service-based economy fundamentally transforms the nature of work and the challenges of workplace empowerment in contemporary America
Working in the Service Society
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edited by Cameron Lynne Macdonald and Carmen J. Sirianni
Continued economic restructuring has brought service work to center stage in labor and management studies, as well as in the sociology of work, gender, race, and inequality. Because the idioms of service have become so central to our public interaction, the everyday struggles for recognition and respect in the service workplace have become integral to the very meaning of democratic citizenship in contemporary America.
This volume brings together some of the most important and engaging writing on service work. Based on rich ethnographic and case study material, the essays explore questions of power and control, resistance and empowerment, and innovation and organizing in the lives of front-line service workers. Cases are drawn from a broad range of occupations, including fast foods, clerical and paralegal work, domestic work and nannies, and direct sales, and from organizational settings, ranging from McDonald's to Harvard University to the suburban home.
The problems of organizing and new models of unionism are analyzed in the context of women's work culture, multiracial workplaces, contingent and part-time work, and participatory innovations to improve service and experience of work simultaneously.
"This collection...bring[s] a light touch to consideration of a fundamental change in work in America."
Part I: Management Control of the New Labor Process
Part II: Gender, Race, and Stratification in the Service Sector
Part III: Worker Resistance, Organizing, and Participation
Cameron Lynne Macdonald teaches social studies at Harvard University.
Carmen Sirianni is Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University.
In the series
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni, includes books on workplace issues like worker participation, quality of work life, shorter hours, technological change, and productivity, as well as union and community organizing and ethnographies of particular occupations.