Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > CONSUMING CRAFT: THE INTERSECTION OF PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION IN NORTH CAROLINA CRAFT BEER MARKETS
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Can consumer culture affect workplace identity? Asking such a question invites us to consider the linkages between social structures that produce goods or services, and those that facilitate their consumption. In recent decades, corporations have increasingly asked workers to draw on their identities as consumers to strengthen their effectiveness in the workplace. Corporations use the discourses of consumption to control workers. However, if we examine workplaces that are embeddedin the consumptive discourse, we may see a different pattern. In the craft beer workplaces of North Carolina, workers often use “beer talk,” to claim positive associations with their work—the same discourse that craft beer firms use to legitimate the consumption of beer. For workers, engagement with “beer talk” creates new opportunities for making work meaningful, transforming what could be considered “bad jobs” (i.e. servers and bartenders) into jobs that respondents truly enjoy. In this case, consumer culture can positively impact the workplace, since those social structures of production (or work) are closely embedded within structures of consumption. Implications for studying work in the post-Fordist period are discussed.