Annotated Bibliography (4 Sources)

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Dublanica, Steve. Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Harper Collins Publishers. 2008.

When I read the dedication of this book, I knew it was for me. Dublanica dedicated the book to his mother, father and anyone who has ever waited tables. He wrote the book with inspiration from his blog that he had started four years prior. Dublanica provides a server's point of view with issues of race, class, religion, power abuse, sexual orientation, etc. having to do with customers and within the workplace. He also writes about things occurring outside the restaurant which leads him to observations and reflections.

This book will provide additional experiential occurrences that can be theorized. I look forward to sharing some of his pieces in addition to my own for a different source of first hand experiences as a server. I plan to use his reflections in conjunction with mine and/or as a critique of the workplace. In the first chapter, he talks about the kitchen staff-server dynamics. Although he does not directly theorize about the influences race, class, sexual orientation, etc. have on this relationship, he provides a base from which I can theorize further his account. I think this is a great source that will be entertaining and theoretically stimulating.


Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Henry Holt and Company. 2001.

This book is about a writer that goes undercover and works in the service industry while also attempting to live off of her earnings. She works in Florida, Maine and Minnesota in various low wage jobs. Throughout the book Ehrenreich provides personal experience and a reflection segment that show the true colors of different work settings. She provides a "fly on the wall" perspective that illustrates and legitimates employees of the service industry.

I think this source will be useful because of her strategic and close method of research. She describes issues of race, class, gender and a new one that I had not thought of - employee health. In the fourth chapter, she dedicates its entirety to reflection. She describes the unskilled jobs, which I would argue the term unskilled at this point, as being not only physically and mentally challenging, but a difficult place to work because of the employee politics that go on. I plan to use her personal experience and reflection in relation to my topic whether it be in critique or support of my arguments.


Butler, Judith. "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and

Feminist Theory." Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4. 1988. pp. 519-531.
In my paper, I plan to use the feminist theory of gender performance as articulated by Judith Butler. In her article, she argues that gender is an illusion, an object of belief rather than predetermined biologically. She describes the body as a continual and incessant materializing of possibilities of "doing" one's body. Butler explains that we choose the "what" of embodiment, but that choice is conditioned and circumscribed by historical convention.

I plan to use this theory in order to complicate the emotional labor that goes into serving as part of a gender performance in the restaurant business. I feel that serving is a performance that is utilized for an economic end which may occur consciously or unconsciously. The performative techniques may include make-up, accessories, work uniform and body language among others. Butler provides theoretical framework that is very useful when looking at serving.


Brewster, Zachary W., and Christine Mallinson. "Racial Differences in Restaurant Tipping: A Labour Process Perspective." Service Industries Journal. 2009.

In their article, Brewster and Mallison conduct research on restaurant tipping in relation to race. The bulk of research focuses on differences between white and black restaurant patrons in the United States. The authors present two dominant explanations for the disparities that exist: one is discriminatory behavior of restaurant servers and the other is African Americans' lack of familiarity with societal norms for tipping. The authors critique these frameworks and offer an alternative outlook. They look at the disparities as a result of utilitarian processes where the interpersonal relationship with unpredictable customers is explored as a possible reason.

This article provides an interesting source for my explorations with race and serving. Whether it be the racialized customer or the racialized server, Brewster and Mallison's research is an interesting take on race in the workplace. I think their research could be helpful in how I conduct my interviews. I am especially curious to see how white servers experience while serving African American customers. I already have a coworker's story that coincides with these authors' findings. Although there are issues with how their research was conducted, the authors give me a directional approach and an explanation that I can present to my coworkers. It will be interesting to hear how my coworkers react.

2 Comments

If you're looking for blogs or other first person narrative type stuffs try:

http://thehootersgirl.blogspot.com/
http://waiterrant.net/ (this one has a lot of pretty funny stories)

I think your sources are looking really great. I love how you are looking for alternatives to "traditional" scholarship with the blogs and personal accounts. I think those sources/styles will be helpful in thinking about your own research methods and in thinking about how you want to share your research with your audience. Maybe you could make a blog to gather stories or create some other interactive form of communication that becomes a long-term project, providing a space for people in the service industry to connect with these ideas.

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This page contains a single entry by Katherine Jonas published on February 12, 2010 12:59 PM.

Annotated Bibliography (Round 2: 4 Entries) was the previous entry in this blog.

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