Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2543-3164
  • E-ISSN: 2543-3156
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In this article, we explore the imbrication of service work with consumer markets and larger structures of inequality, including gender and class divides as well as social and economic differences. In line with current sociolinguistic scholarship on language and work, we are interested in the activity of serving people – both in the sense of being or becoming people who serve as well as in the practice of providing services to people. To do so, we offer an ethnographic account of the regime of labor surveillance as well as the daily work practices of female workers at a Starbucks coffeehouse in London, UK. We wonder about how employers organize the bodies of workers into signs, codes and messages that appeal to customers’ class expectations of this type of consumption. By documenting the regimentation and surveillance of labor at Starbucks, we inquire into the prescribed rules that guide ‘proper’ presentations of physicality; further, we ask questions about the mechanism through which the body at Starbucks is made to express its positioning within a structure of labor and its relationality to others, especially customers.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): body; class; consumer economy; female workers; political economy
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