The C**tail Waitress: Woman's Work In A Man's World by James P. Spradley

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James P. Spradley
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Book review

A 1975 classic, this highly readable, in-depth study examines a familiar female role in contemporary American society. The authors apply fieldwork methods to the study of social behavior in a college bar--as viewed from the perspective of cocktail waitresses. They describe in detail the day-to-day lives of women and the meaning of work for women in a man's world. Not a feminist tract, their book provides a wealth of empirical data on the nature of being female in our culture. The Cocktail Waitress examines female/male relationships as well as patterns of male dominance in social interaction, and shows how these are linked to more general issues in anthropology. The work teaches important social science concepts while always dealing with the college student's own world. Its objective presentation of the waitress casts light on significant social issues and the role of women in today's society, together with the manner in which female-male roles are interlocked.


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