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Queer subjectivities in hospitality labor

Sharp, M., Farrugia, D., Coffey, J. , Threadgold, S., Adkins, L. & Gill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2715-1867 (2022). Queer subjectivities in hospitality labor. Gender, Work And Organisation, doi: 10.1111/gwao.12844


This paper explores the experiences of queer workers in the service economy with a focus on hospitality labor. Studies of gender, sexuality and service labor approached mainstream service work as a scene of compulsory heterosexuality, while literature on the position of queer workers has tended to approach work in terms of structural inequalities that prevent queer workers from participating in the labor market, and has therefore focused on notions of diversity and inclusion as frameworks for understanding how the heteronormativity of service relationships can be overcome. This paper shifts focus to examine how queer subjectivities are enacted within the disciplinary requirements of service labor, and on the way that workers negotiate and contest their positioning at work. The paper situates the subjectivities and laboring practices of queer workers at the nexus of tensions between heteronormativity and the politics of diversity in service venues, and examines how workers negotiate and contest their positioning at work. We explore the normativities that shape permissible queer embodiment at work and show how biographical experiences specific to queer workers inform their laboring practices. The paper shows that queer workers in mainstream hospitality venues are enrolled into a specific mode of interactive service labor that capitalizes on their queer biographies, requires highly cultivated relational capacities, and repositions work as a site of political intervention.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors. Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Publisher Keywords: gender, hospitality, labor, queer, work
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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