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Dirty Work
The Social Construction of Taint

Edited by Shirley K. Drew, Melanie B. Mills and Bob M. Gassaway

Dirty Work
Paperback, 283 pages $29.95
Published: 1st August 2007
ISBN: 9781932792737
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Cultural Studies, All Sociology

Dirty Work profiles a number of occupations that society deems tainted. The volume's vivid, ethnographic reports focus on the communication that helps workers manage the moral, social, and physical “stains” that derive from engaging in such occupations. The creative ways that those who perform such dirty work learn to communicate with each other—and with outsiders—regulate the negative aspects of the work itself and emphasize the positives so that workers can maintain a sense of self-value even while performing devalued occupations.


1 Doing Justice, Shirley K. Drew

2 Dirty Work and Discipline Behind Bars, Sarah J. Tracy & Clifton Scott

3 Riding Fire Trucks and Ambulances with America's Heroes, Clifton Scott & Sarah J. Tracy

4 Without Trucks, We'd Be Naked, Hungry & Homeless!, Melanie Mills

5 Bitching about Secretarial "Dirty Work", Patricia Sotirin

6 Nursing as Dirty Work, Melanie Mills & Amy Schejbal

7 Crack Pipes and TCells: Use of Taint Management by HIV/AIDS/Addiction Caregivers, Stephanie Poole Martinez


8 Good Cops, Dirty Crimes, Bob M. Gassaway

9 Cops, Crimes, and Community Policing, Shirley K. Drew & Mendy Hulvey

10 The Death Doctors, Bob M. Gassaway


11 Ethnography as Dirty Work, Shirley K. Drew & Melanie Mills

12 Concluding Thoughts, Melanie Mills, Shirley K. Drew, & Bob M. Gassaway

For everyone who has ever wondered “how on earth” or “why in the world” people do the dirty work of prison guards, cops, community police, long-distance truck drivers, secretaries, nurses, HIV/AIDS/addiction caregivers, forensic pathologists and their technicians, or even cultural ethnographers in the academy, this book will be a tantalizing, provocative, enlightening, and entertaining read.

—H.L. “Bud” Goodall, Jr., Director and Professor at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 283 pages
 9in x 6in

  LAN004000, SOC026000
 Baylor University Press

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