Service labor and symbolic power: On putting Bourdieu to work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The subfield that is the sociology of service labor continues to generate vibrant internal dialogue. It was the author's original intent to push forward the frontier of theory within this field, by performing an ethnography of service work in a non-American context (that of post-apartheid South Africa). Once in the field, however, he found himself moving backward as he was forced to problematize basic assumptions concerning the very category of service. In brief, the author discovered that managers in a competitive tourism industry refused to label their employees' interactive labor as "service," whereas workers themselves actively advocated for such a designation. To document the interplay between material and symbolic politics of production, the author turned to the work of Pierre Bourdieu-especially his theory of political representation and the accompanying concept of nomination struggles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-319
Number of pages25
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Fingerprint

labor
symbolic politics
service work
apartheid
ethnography
sociology
Tourism
dialogue
employee
manager
worker
industry
Labor
Service workers
Tourism industry
Pierre Bourdieu
Apartheid
Sociology
Employees
Service work

Keywords

  • Bourdieu
  • Labor
  • Service work
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Service labor and symbolic power : On putting Bourdieu to work. / Sallaz, Jeffrey J.

In: Work and Occupations, Vol. 37, No. 3, 08.2010, p. 295-319.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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