Butlers: A design for a historical-analysis of instruction manuals, etiquette books and memoirs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Abstract

The occupation of Butler is on the rise and thriving. After a decline in butlers and domestic servants following the Second World War, demand for butlers has rapidly increased over the last thirty years as they find service in super-wealthy households, 5-star hotels, and other commercial domains. Butlers’ anachronism raises sociological questions, a key one of which is how their labour is legitimised in a world of work that rejects – at least ideologically – such a sharp and naked hierarchy as the master-servant phenomenon. This paper moves towards finalising a research design that asks how motivators/drivers of butler labour have changed over the last 200 years. It proposes a qualitative historical-analysis of instruction manuals, etiquette books and memoirs written either by or for butlers and similar domestics. More specifically, it seeks to explore whether ideologies of ascription and religious legitimisations have been more or less replaced, in the current butler revival, by the appeal of proximity to elite lifestyle – the very lifestyle that butlers themselves service and maintain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Sociology Lowlands
Pages0-0
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2019
EventCultural Sociology LowLands - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 13 Sep 2019 → …

Conference

ConferenceCultural Sociology LowLands
Country/TerritoryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period13/09/19 → …

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