Working Bodies. Interactive Service Employment and Workplace Identities. Studies in Urban and Social Change

  • ID: 2250274
  • Book
  • 284 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Working Bodies examines the theoretical underpinnings and empirical nature of the noticeable shift to interactive and embodied forms of work in service economies. Introductory chapters explore the transformation of labour markets in advanced industrial economies, the arguments for and against a radical shift in the nature of employment, the growth of inequality and assess the growing significance of the body/work relationship. Later chapters consist of a series of mainly UK–based case studies of interactive and embodied servicing work – from childcare and sex work to boxing, nursing and low paid jobs in hospitality.

Combining geographical and sociological theories with empirical research, the author explores the interconnections between class, ethnicity, gender in the construction of workplace identities, as well as the spatial division of labor in the ′servicing′ economy. Informed by the latest scholarship, Working Bodies is an fascinating exploration of the growing significance of low–paid and often casualised forms of employment in the twenty–first century economy, challenging the insistence on new forms of knowledge work in conventional accounts of labour market transformations.

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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

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"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)

"Between the covers of this beautifully crafted book is a thoughtful, innovative, and thorough analysis of high–touch interactive service work that draws on numerous case studies and ethnographies, mostly from the United Kingdom, and on the author′s own original research. . . . This ambitious book is insightful and informative, and it makes a valuable contribution to the study of work in contemporary capitalist societies". (Canadian Journal of Sociology, 2010)

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