Presentation Title

Well Paid Actors: Gratuity in the Sports Bar

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 355

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

The purpose of the research was to understand the motivations of the actors inside a particular work-sphere using ethnographic methodology. Using participant observation and communication analysis over a period of six months, the researcher was able to demonstrate that the behaviors, norms, and social hierarchy in the sports bar both are shaped by, and shape, access to tips. The bottom rung on the social ladder starts with the un-tipped cooks, to the un-tipped but potentially socially mobile hosts, to the food runner who receives tip-outs, to the server who has direct access to tips, to the bartender who receives tips both directly and in the form of tip-outs. All individuals are motivated within the structure by their access to tips; transient relationships are formed within this superstructure via shared experience and are reinforced by reciprocal relationships. Overt expressions of greed and negative reciprocity are mitigated in equal measure by collectively held norms. The stratified structure of tip access, including sub-stratification among servers and bartenders, correlates with dramaturgical competence. Those that adapt best to the performative requirements of their roles earn the most money in the sports bar. Thus the research was able to prove that the gratuity structure forms the basis for the bulk of normative behavior inside the sports bar.

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Nov 12th, 3:00 PM Nov 12th, 3:15 PM

Well Paid Actors: Gratuity in the Sports Bar

HUB 355

The purpose of the research was to understand the motivations of the actors inside a particular work-sphere using ethnographic methodology. Using participant observation and communication analysis over a period of six months, the researcher was able to demonstrate that the behaviors, norms, and social hierarchy in the sports bar both are shaped by, and shape, access to tips. The bottom rung on the social ladder starts with the un-tipped cooks, to the un-tipped but potentially socially mobile hosts, to the food runner who receives tip-outs, to the server who has direct access to tips, to the bartender who receives tips both directly and in the form of tip-outs. All individuals are motivated within the structure by their access to tips; transient relationships are formed within this superstructure via shared experience and are reinforced by reciprocal relationships. Overt expressions of greed and negative reciprocity are mitigated in equal measure by collectively held norms. The stratified structure of tip access, including sub-stratification among servers and bartenders, correlates with dramaturgical competence. Those that adapt best to the performative requirements of their roles earn the most money in the sports bar. Thus the research was able to prove that the gratuity structure forms the basis for the bulk of normative behavior inside the sports bar.