chapter  2
11 Pages

The men and the boys: bankers, burger makers and barmen

In this chapter I examine the interconnections between economic restructuring, the rise of service sector occupations and the social construction of masculinity. Through case studies of different forms of service work-high and low status-I show how embodied performances that emphasize what are traditionally seen as characteristics of femininity are now a key part of many of the service occupations undertaken by men. Although both high status and low status occupations demand new forms of workplace performances from male employees, significant inequalities between these types of work remain. Young working-class men, for whom the type of manufacturing work that their fathers might have entered has now disappeared, find it increasingly difficult to gain access to the sort of work that will enable them to establish independent living and adopt the traditional breadwinner role.