The Cocktail Waitress Analysis

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1. Spradley and Mann chose to do their research at Brady’s bar because it is an ordinary setting where they could study interactions between male and female. First, Brady’s Bar provided a setting to define the female role. Secondly, it is a place where both male and female interactions are important and reflect traditional aspects of larger society. Lastly, the traditional aspects of Brady’s signified the traditional view of how women should present themselves as passive sex objects whose status is of lower hierarchy than men. There are three ethnographical principles that guided the study at Brady’s Bar. The first principle states that “Every human group creates its own reality, a shared culture” (6). This concept was put in place throughout the research by gaining an understanding of the waitress’s backgrounds before working at Brady’s and studying how the employees work and view their status to the bar. This principle was also applied when the researchers studied the setting of the bar and how the employees, customers, and waitress interacted with one another. The second principle states that “Everyone takes their own culture for granted” (7). This principle was applied when studying the male and female roles at Brady’s, the many verbal and non-verbal interactions that occurred between the waitresses, bartenders, and customers, and through the language that was used at Brady’s. The last principle that guided the research done at Brady’s bar states that “There is frequently more than one cultural perspective for any social situation. This principle was applied when researching the differences between male and female customers, male and female roles, male and female tasks, and when studying the differences between regular customers and customers off the street. Each of these people viewed the social situation differently and was shown through their actions.

2.During the investigation at Brady’s Bar there were five research objections. The first objective was to study the division of labor that took place at Brady’s by examining the major tasks of the cocktail waitresses and the other employees. At Brady’s the jobs done by male and female employees signified their position as either male or female. Although, sometimes the waitresses were granted the opportunity to do a male’s work, men never did the women’s work. Researching this particular objective showed that the role of the cocktail waitresses was to always ensure that they present themselves in a way that does not justify the men’s status of hierarchy.

The next research objective was analyzing the formal structure of Brady’s bar, the social networks that that took place, and how the social structure reinforces the male and female values in American culture. Due to the fact that there are a variety of customers who all present themselves differently, the waitresses must be able to identify these differences and appropriately interact with each of them. With this, it is important that the waitress is aware of the social hierarchy that is presented at Brady’s and also where she stands in this hierarchy

The third objective that was researched at Brady’s Bar was the joking relationship that took place in order to resolve the structural conflict. The structural conflict presented at Brady’s is due to the waitress’s low status in the bar. She is always to ensure that the bartender is satisfied even if it makes her job harder. Although, she may have hard feelings about this, the joking relationship between the waitresses and bartenders helps to create a positive bond between them. The bonds that form from this joking relationship, helps the waitress feel at ease, respect the bartenders, and creates a sense of dependency to the bartenders. The fourth objective researched at Brady’s was to examine the nature of territory at the bar and how it affects the waitress and other female customers. In Brady’s territory is split between the...
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