From the Inside Flap
"Sherman's insightful ethnography sheds light on the interactional dimension of symbolic boundaries and class relations as they are lived by luxury hotel clients and the workers who serve them. We learn how both groups perform class through emotion work and deepen our understanding of the role played by "niceness" in constituting equality and reversing hierarchies. As such, Class Acts is a signal contribution to a growing literature on the place of the self concept in class boundaries. It will gain a significant place in a body of work that broadens our understanding of class by moving beyond structural determinants and taking into consideration the performative, emotional, cognitive, and expressive dimensions of inequality."Michele Lamont, author of The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class, and Immigration
"Eye-opening, amusing, and appalling, Rachel Sherman's Class Acts explains how class inequality is normalized in the refined atmosphere of luxury hotels. This beautifully observed and engagingly written ethnography describes what kinds of deference and personal recognition money can buy. Moreover, it shows how workers who provide luxury service avoid seeing themselves as subordinate and how those whose whims are catered to are made comfortable with their privilege. Class Acts is a sobering and timely account of the legitimation of extreme inequality in a culture that prizes egalitarianism."Robin Leidner, University of Pennsylvania
"Rachel Sherman provides a penetrating and engrossing study of workers and guests in luxury hotels. Do workers resent the guests? Do guests disdain the workers? Sherman argues neither is true-and explains why."Julia Wrigley, author of Other People's Children
About the Author
Rachel Sherman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Yale University.