The Service Worker: A Cultural History

By Michael J. Kramer

A short history of an increasingly crucial mode of labor in the American and global economies. What is the service worker? How does she relate to other categories of work: the industrial worker, the professional, the clerk, the careworker, the craftsperson, the entrepreneur? How does he relate to notions of class: the working class or middle class? In treating the service worker as both a figure in labor and cultural history, this project makes an intervention in how we understand American social history as a whole and how we might consider work and labor in relationship to issues of gender, race, ethnicity, region, age, and contemporary politics.