Bodies at Work by Carol Wolkowitz

By Carol Wolkowitz

After analyzing this booklet it is going to be tougher to ''do'' the sociology of labor and the sociology of the physique within the absence of the opposite. In a few fairly beautiful methods it throws down a problem which practitioners in either fields will locate tough to disregard' - Paul Stewart, former editor of labor, Employment and Society, college of the West of England

Bodies at paintings offers the 1st full-length, available account of the body/work relation in modern western societies. Bringing jointly fields of sociology that experience hitherto constructed regularly alongside separate traces, the booklet demonstrates the relevance of ideas constructed within the sociology of the physique for enriching our knowing of adjusting styles of labor and employment.

Bodies at paintings starts off by way of developing key matters in either the sociology of the physique and the sociology of labor. Drawing on current examine, the writer proceeds to envision quite a lot of employment sectors: commercial employment; shopper kin; well-being perform; care paintings; the sweetness undefined; and intercourse paintings. The contribution of feminist thought and study is highlighted all through, and analyses of pictures support the reader conceptualise the altering nature of the body/work dating over the years. Bodies at paintings is helping readers imagine extra basically and creatively approximately how paintings family members form physically adventure.

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Of the theorists I now want to introduce, both Foucault (in his early writings) and Bourdieu have been the focus of this ‘anxiety over agency’. On the other hand, the third influential sociologist of the body considered here, Erving Goffman, has been accused of ‘bending the stick’ too far in the opposite direction and, through the idea of the performance of the self (Goffman 1969), exaggerating the extent of individual agency and underestimating the determination of structure. Probably the single most influential figure in the sociology of the body has been Michel Foucault.

In this context the photographs Hannah had taken of herself as a domestic servant imply that this was only one of several possible roles, all equally illusory. But of course we have to ask whether (working) class identities should be seen as performative in the same way. In another interpretation of the archives, Pollock (1993) sets the Munby–Cullwick relationship in the context of the other images of women manual workers that Munby collected. Many pictures were taken by local photographers and sold to visiting businessmen as curiosities.

Davidoff explores the ways Victorian working-class women literally embodied class difference, through, for instance, diet, labour and the learned postures of deference. Munby himself was fascinated by working women’s physical features – their ‘rude strength’, broad backs, ‘ruddy countenance’ and sun-tanned skin and, especially, their hands and feet, which contrasted greatly with the dainty white hands and smaller, more delicate feet of the middle-class girl. He wrote approvingly, for instance, of a colliery girl in boots, ‘shod like a horses hoofs’ (Davidoff 1988: 42).

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