Aesthetic Labour

Warhurst, Chris and Nickson, Dennis (2020) Aesthetic Labour. Sage Publishing, London. ISBN 9781847870858

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Using workers who look good and/or sound right is now mainstreamed in interactive service organizations in hospitality, retail and beyond. These workers are hired because of the way they look and talk –or can be made to look and to talk. Once employed, they are then instructed in, how to dress and present themselves, the use of body language and even speech to further enhance their appearance. For employers, such workers produce a desired style of service. It is what we term ‘aesthetic labour’ and its use is a deliberate managerial strategy perceived by employers to appeal to customers or clients and produce organizational benefit. This book examines this labour, placing it within the context of social and economic trends, how it is manifest in the workplace through the interactions of management, employees and customers or clients, and then, in turn, its social and economic effects.


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