Service Encounters Class, Gender, and the Market for Social Distinction in Urban China

ISBN-10: 0804758379

ISBN-13: 9780804758376

Edition: 2008

Authors: Amy Hanser

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This lively study explores how social and economic changes to Chinese society create new cultural values and forms of inequality. Amy Hanser examines changes to a particular set of jobs--service work, in this case salesclerk work--and the nature of the social interactions involved. It argues that a new "structure of entitlement," which makes elite groups feel more entitled to public forms of respect and social esteem, is constructed in settings like new, luxury department stores. The book not only shows how this change involves increasingly unequal relations between clerks and customers, but also demonstrates how marketplaces have become sites where social differences--and inequalities--are recognized and justified. The study's importance lies in its attention to ethnographic detail, its application of cultural theories of inequality to China, and its contribution to our understanding of contemporary China. Unlike other studies of inequality in urban China, this book takes a unique setting--the marketplace and the interactions between customers and salespeople--and a unique approach--the author herself worked as a salesclerk in three settings.
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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 2/6/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Amy Hanser is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Revolution and Reform: The Business of Retail in Modern China
Service Work with Socialist Characteristics
Distinction Work and the Gendered Production of Class
The Underground and the Counter Strategies of Distinction
Post-Socialist Distinction Work
Works Cited
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