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Title: Managing disrespect in tainted occupations: An ethnographic investigation into the recognition experiences of dirty workers and the strategies they use to cope with disrespect
Other Titles: Managing disrespect in tainted occupations
Authors: Morgan, Rachel
Advisors: Valsecchi, R
Slutskaya, N
Keywords: Subjectivity;Taint management;Habitus;Axel Honneth;Pierre Bourdieu
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: While current literature has exhaustively explored stigmatic experiences of those engaging in dirty work, as well as agentic and socially derived esteem enhancing strategies adapted by these workers to manage taint; evidence of the implications from adopting these strategies remains contradictory. As such, this study aims to contribute further understanding by moving away from the current focus of affirming a positive identity, towards an understanding of self-actualisation. By drawing on Honneth’s (1996) recognition theory this research seeks to provide further insights with regards to the experiences of disrespect faced by dirty workers. Thereafter, in seeking to address the shortcomings of Honneth’s (1996) theory of recognition, this study draws on Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of habitus to incorporate how structural processes and embedded presuppositions may influence experiences of disrespect amongst this particular group. Using an ethnographic study of dirty workers encompassing 32 semi structured interviews, 128 hours of participant observation and field notes, this study demonstrates that despite the continual adoption of discursive strategies, attainment of respect remains limited for these workers, due to a perceived lack of usefulness as well as decreasing security and autonomy at work. However, street cleaners and refuse workers draw on familial recognition in accordance with primary habitus in attempts to attain some form of positive recognition. Resultantly, this study demonstrates that street cleaners and refuse workers draw on intersubjective relations with family members and specific internalised beliefs such as the importance of work itself which align with the norms of their working class communities. As such, this study argues that in spite of lack of respect afforded to these workers, they continue to engage in the use of esteem enhancing strategies as they are restricted to drawing on discursive resources that align with their attainment of symbolic capital; that is, from adhering to working class norms and the limited respect of which they are afforded through familial recognition.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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