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Class Acts Service and Inequality in Luxury Hotels

ISBN-10: 0520247825
ISBN-13: 9780520247826
Edition: 2006
Authors: Rachel Sherman
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Description: In this lively study, Rachel Sherman goes behind the scenes in two urban luxury hotels to give a nuanced picture of the workers who care for and cater to wealthy guests by providing seemingly unlimited personal attention. Drawing on in-depth  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 1/17/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

In this lively study, Rachel Sherman goes behind the scenes in two urban luxury hotels to give a nuanced picture of the workers who care for and cater to wealthy guests by providing seemingly unlimited personal attention. Drawing on in-depth interviews and extended ethnographic research in a range of hotel jobs, including concierge, bellperson, and housekeeper, Sherman gives an insightful analysis of what exactly luxury service consists of, how managers organize its production, and how workers and guests negotiate the inequality between them. She finds that workers employ a variety of practices to assert a powerful sense of self, including playing games, comparing themselves to other workers and guests, and forming meaningful and reciprocal relations with guests. Through their contact with hotel staff, guests learn how to behave in the luxury environment and come to see themselves as deserving of luxury consumption. These practices, Sherman argues, help make class inequality seem normal, something to be taken for granted. Throughout,Class Actssheds new light on the complex relationship between class and service work, an increasingly relevant topic in light of the growing economic inequality in the United States that underlies luxury consumption.

Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Luxury Service and the New Economy
"Better Than Your Mother": The Luxury Product
Managing Autonomy
Games, Control, and Skill
Recasting Hierarchy
Reciprocity, Relationship, and Revenge
Producing Entitlement Conclusion: Class, Culture, and the Service Theater
Methods
Hotel Organization
Jobs, Wages, and Nonmanagerial Workers in Each Hotel: 2000-2001
Notes
References
Index

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