Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Serving and consuming: drink, work and leisure in public houses

an article by Peter John Sandiford (University of Adelaide, Australia) and Diane Seymour (Oxford Brookes University, UK) published in Work Employment & Society Volume 27 Number 1 (February 2013)


This article explores public house (pub) employees’ relationship to alcohol, its service and consumption using data drawn from an ethnographic study of workers in a chain of pubs.

These workers experience a particularly complex relationship between their work and their leisure; they belong to a culture in which drinking in public is the norm for consumers and, as employees, they are responsible for enforcing drinking rules within their workplace – which is also where much of their own leisure takes place.

The concept of partial consumer is used to analyse the fluidity of the work–leisure and service–consumption divides in this context. The drinking norms that develop within the pub enable these workers to construct contextually variable behavioural norms around drinking behaviour, allowing them to behave differently behind and in front of the bar, the symbolic barrier between work and leisure.

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