Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mann, Susan A.

Second Advisor

Baxter, Vern

Third Advisor

Jenkins, Pamela


This study examines the relationship between gender roles and habitus in service industry occupations. It draws primarily from the works of Pierre Bourdieu and Judith Butler. Data includes an exploratory focus group, non-participant observations and interviews with women currently or formerly employed as bartenders, bar backs, servers, or hostesses. The main themes that emerged included how habitus is affected by views of employment, drug and alcohol use, the naturalization of gender roles, and the effect of appearance standards. This study supports previous feminist works that posit that gender as a performance, not a biological trait. Further this performance is used to navigate specific social experiences such as those in a workplace. This paper also comments on current enforcement of Title VII with reference to gender discrimination.


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