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Working Bodies: Interactive Service Employment and Workplace Identities

Working Bodies: Interactive Service Employment and Workplace Identities

Linda McDowell

ISBN: 978-1-444-31021-4

Dec 2009

288 pages

Description

Through a series of case studies of low-status interactive and embodied servicing work, Working Bodies examines the theoretical and empirical nature of the shift to embodied work in service-dominated economies.
  • Defines ‘body work’ to include the work by service sector employees on their own bodies and on the bodies of others
  • Sets UK case studies in the context of global patterns of economic change
  • Explores the consequences of growing polarization in the service sector
  • Draws on geography, sociology, anthropology, labour market studies, and feminist scholarship

List of Illustrations vi

Series Editors’ Preface vii

Preface and Acknowledgements viii

1 Service Employment and the Commoditization of the Body 1

Part I Locating Service Work 23

2 The Rise of the Service Economy 25

3 Thinking Through Embodiment: Explaining Interactive Service Employment 49

Part II High-Touch Servicing Work in Private and Public Spaces 77

4 Up Close and Personal: Intimate Work in the Home 79

5 Selling Bodies I: Sex Work 101

6 Selling Bodies II: Masculine Strength and Licensed Violence 129

Part III High-Touch Servicing Work in Specialist Spaces 159

7 Bodies in Sickness and in Health: Care Work and Beauty Work 161

8 Warm Bodies: Doing Deference in Routine Interactive Work 191

9 Conclusions: Bodies in Place 212

References 229

Index 256

""Nevertheless, the book is accessibly written, and the variety of themes it explores will ensure it has broad appeal among undergraduates and postgraduates studying social division, gender, service work, labour relations and their relationships. The book also provides academics working in and across the disciplines of sociology and human geography with a good overview of research into interactive work and its implications in contemporary society."" (Work, Employment & Society, 25 March 2011)

 

  • Defines ‘body work’ to include the work by service sector employees on their own bodies and on the bodies of others
  • Sets UK and US case studies in the context of global patterns of economic change
  • Explores the consequences of growing polarization in the service sector
  • Discusses the methodological issues raised in case study and qualitative research
  • Draws on geography, sociology, anthropology, labour market studies, and feminist scholarship