Expert Service Work

Expert Service Work

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My dissertation examines new forms of service work emerging in the contemporary American economy. I focus on an important but heretofore understudied area of work: College-educated workers who are increasingly pursuing employment in unstandardized, semiprofessional service industries. Many of these people, whom I label qexpert service workers, q are carving out new occupational jurisdictions by commodifying formerly private, unpaid interpersonal services. They are doing so by drawing on a combination of specialized knowledge, emotional labor, and a range of collective and individual professionalization strategies. My research focuses specifically on the personal training and life coaching industries as exemplars of burgeoning expert service occupations. These workers are compelling because their claims to professional status are challenged by traditional professionals who are anxious to defend their occupational boundaries as well as consumers who have benefited from the democratization of expertise. Lacking formal, institutional types of legitimation, therefore, they must rely on other means to prove their competence. Using ethnographic research and 45 in-depth interviews with personal trainers and life coaches, my study seeks to understand the defining features and marketing of this type of labor. I also specifically address how gender shapes the contours and trajectories of the personal training and life coaching industries. My findings highlight the complexity of the shifting labor market and offer a number of empirical, theoretical, and practical contributions to the study of work and occupations, gender, and social psychology.So people would come into I-chat with video conferencing or they would come into a bridge line, like everyone calls into a central number, and providing course work or coaching work, group coaching, that kind of thing through that avenue.

Title:Expert Service Work
Author: Amelia Marie George
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008

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