SOC365H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Emotional Labor, Combined Insurance, Life Insurance

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Published on 23 Sep 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC365H1
Professor
SOC365 Week 3 The production of Gender through work
Leidner: Serving hamburgers and selling insurance: gender, work and identity in
interactive service jobs
Explores the interrelationship of work, gender and identity through an analysis
of two highly routinized interactive service jobs: fast food service and insurance
sales
Notions of proper gender behavior are flexible yet in gender-segregated service
jobs it reinforces the conception of gender differences as natural
Gender-typed work has different meanings for women and men, however,
because of differences in the cultural valuation of behavior considered
appropriate to each gender
Acceptance by a worker of the identity implied by a job is therefore determined
in part by the degree in a way that is satisfying
Contemporary theory and research on gender shares an emphasis on its active
and continual construction through social interaction
E.g West and Zimmerman: argue that ‘participants in interaction organize their
various and manifold activities to reflect or express gender and they are
disposed to perceive the behavior of others in a similar light
Gender segregation of work reinforces the appearance of naturalness such as
aspects of the social construction of gender that creates the impression that
gender differences in personality, interest, character etc are natural
When jobholders are all of one gender, it appears that people of that gender must
be especially well suited to the work, even if at other times and places, the other
gender does the same work
Author draws on research on the routinization of jobs that involve direct
interactions with customers or clients interactive service work
Interactive service jobs have several distinctive features that make them
revealing for investigation of the interrelation of work, gender and identity
1. These jobs differ from other types of work in that the distinctions among
product, work process and worker are blurred or nonexistent, since the quality
of the interaction may itself be part of the service offered
Workers identity usually an integral part of work
When interactive work is routinized, workers interactions are directly controlled
by employers
How employers try to combine the proper interactive elements to achieve the
desired effects can make visible the processes by which meaning, control and
identity are ordinarily created through interaction in all kinds of settings
Once assumptions about proper gender behavior are built into workers’ routines,
service recipients may have to accept them in order to fit smoothly into the
service interaction
To do such jobs as intended, workers must ‘do gender’ in a particular way
(Emotional labor)- workers in all kinds of jobs need to consider how their work
relates to their own identities, including their gender identities
Employers of interactive service workers may be unusually open in their
attempts to channel workers’ attitudes and manipulate workers’ identities
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Document Summary

Leidner: serving hamburgers and selling insurance: gender, work and identity in interactive service jobs. Explores the interrelationship of work, gender and identity through an analysis of two highly routinized interactive service jobs: fast food service and insurance sales. Notions of proper gender behavior are flexible yet in gender-segregated service jobs it reinforces the conception of gender differences as natural. Gender-typed work has different meanings for women and men, however, because of differences in the cultural valuation of behavior considered appropriate to each gender. Acceptance by a worker of the identity implied by a job is therefore determined in part by the degree in a way that is satisfying. Contemporary theory and research on gender shares an emphasis on its active and continual construction through social interaction. E. g west and zimmerman: argue that participants in interaction organize their various and manifold activities to reflect or express gender and they are disposed to perceive the behavior of others in a similar light.

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