- Copyright Page
- About the Editors
- About the Contributors
- Toward a Sociology of the Body
- Methodologies for Categories in Motion
- Pregnant Embodiment and Field Research
- Sensory Experience AS Method
- Mixed Methods in Body and Embodiment Research
- YouTube Vlogs as Illness Narratives: Methodological Consideration
- Representations of Fatness by Experts and the Media and How This Shapes Attitudes
- Health at Every Size (HAES<sup>™</sup>) as a Reform (Social) Movement within Public Health: A Situational Analysis
- Fat as a Floating Signifier: Race, Weight, and Femininity in the National Imaginary
- Animal, Mechanical, and Me: Organ Transplantation and the Ambiguity of Embodiment
- Aging, Gender, and the Body
- Beyond Binary Sex and Gender Ideology
- Male Breast Cancer in the Public Imagination
- Good-Looking Men Require Hard-Working Women: The Labor of Consumption in the Grooming Industry
- Feeding and Fasting Bodies
- Contrasting Scientific Discourses of Skin Lightening in Domestic and Global Contexts
- Unruly Bodies: Figurative Violence and the State’s Responses to the Black Panther Party
- Race, Phenotype, and Nationality in Brazil and the United States
- The Aesthetic Labor of Ethnographers
- Bodies That Don’t Matter, but Labor That Does: The Low-Wage Male Migrant in Singapore and Dubai
- Embodied Spatial Practices and the Power to Care
- Contesting New Markets for Bodily Knowledge: When and How Experts Draw the Line
- Managing Risky Bodies: From Pregnancy to Vaccination
- The Artificial Pancreas in Cyborg Bodies
- Contesting Lyme Disease
- “Laying Hands” and Learning to Touch and Grab in the Police Academy
- The Place of the Body in Resistance to Intimate Partner Violence: What Do We Know?
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter uses a comparative case method, drawing on autoethnographic accounts to explore how ethnographers perform aesthetic labor across two research sites: a women’s plus-size clothing store and a coed retail gym. The authors find that they engaged in aesthetic labor as they adapted to the aesthetic expectations of sites by either blending in or sticking out. In their studies, the successful accomplishment of aesthetic labor relied primarily on gender and body size, highlighting how the body functions as a status characteristic that influences existing power dynamics. Such insights suggest the need to conceptualize ethnographic research through the lens of labor—a lens that makes clearer how academic work is structured by the same intersectional inequalities prevalent in most occupational fields.
Kjerstin Gruys is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research broadly explores the relationship between physical appearance and social inequality, with a particular focus on gender as it intersects with race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and body size. Her research—empirically grounded in ethnography, in-depth interviews, content analyses, and the occasional experiment—has been published in Social Problems, Gender & Society, Sex Roles, and Social Science & Medicine, among others. She is currently developing a book manuscript that explores the history and social repercussions of “vanity sizing” in the US ready-to-wear fashion industry.
David J. Hutson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Penn State University–Abington. His research investigates health and fitness culture in the United States through the lens of gender, medical sociology, and the body. He has recently published a content analysis exploring historical categories of body weight in the nineteenth century (Social Science History) and a qualitative study on how “bodily capital” is used to negotiate status differences between personal trainers and clients (Qualitative Sociology). Currently, he is conducting interviews with pregnant and recently pregnant women to explore the experience of putting on and trying to take off “baby weight.”
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