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Recognition and the moral taint of sexuality: Threat, masculinity and Santa Claus

Hancock, P (2016) 'Recognition and the moral taint of sexuality: Threat, masculinity and Santa Claus.' Human Relations, 69 (2). 461 - 481. ISSN 0018-7267

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This article explores the ways in which a desire for recognition characterizes the work of a particular category of service worker, the semi-professional Santa Claus performer. Employing a series of observations and in-depth, semi-structured interviews, it considers ways in which such work is underpinned by a struggle for recognition based on an exchange of love and social esteem that is immanent to the perceived reality of the performance of the character himself. The discussion focuses on the risk posed to the possibility of this relationship by the attribution to these performers of a tainted identity, one premised on the combination of a debased version of male sexuality and an increasingly prevalent cultural unease surrounding the relationship between children and adults. It concludes by arguing for a broader reconsideration of the concept of taint – particularly moral taint – as a far more fluid and contingent concept than has traditionally been deployed, as well as the value of engaging with the importance of recognition as a conceptual resource for both understanding, and possibly improving, the experiences of the contemporary service worker.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2015 14:27
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 11:15

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