Sexuality, Masculinity, and Taint Management Among Firefighters and Correctional Officers

Getting Down and Dirty With “America's Heroes” and the “Scum of Law Enforcement”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

143 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on qualitative field and interview data, this comparative analysis of dirty work by firefighters and correctional officers demonstrates that taint management and its relative utility is inextricably bound to and embedded within macro-level discourses. While firefighters labor to fulfill expectations as “America's heroes,” correctional officers work to squelch images as “professional babysitters” and the “scum of law enforcement.” The authors’ analysis illustrates how discourses of occupational prestige and masculine heterosexuality allow firefighters to frame their work in preferred, privileged terms while correctional officers struggle to combat taint discursively associated with low-level feminized care work or with brutish, deviant sexuality. This study extends theoretical understandings of identity construction, dirty work, taint management, and organizational performances of masculinity and sexuality. The authors’ analysis concludes with limitations, future directions, and practical applications regarding the potentially dysfunctional results of taint management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-38
Number of pages33
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

Law enforcement
law enforcement
masculinity
sexuality
management
occupational prestige
heterosexuality
Macros
discourse
macro level
Personnel
labor
Discourse
Sexuality
Masculinity
interview
performance
Identity construction
Future directions
Prestige

Keywords

  • dirty jobs
  • dirty work
  • gender
  • identity
  • masculinity
  • sexuality
  • taint management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this

@article{3d42736c07d14448bd02353a42744044,
title = "Sexuality, Masculinity, and Taint Management Among Firefighters and Correctional Officers: Getting Down and Dirty With “America's Heroes” and the “Scum of Law Enforcement”",
abstract = "Based on qualitative field and interview data, this comparative analysis of dirty work by firefighters and correctional officers demonstrates that taint management and its relative utility is inextricably bound to and embedded within macro-level discourses. While firefighters labor to fulfill expectations as “America's heroes,” correctional officers work to squelch images as “professional babysitters” and the “scum of law enforcement.” The authors’ analysis illustrates how discourses of occupational prestige and masculine heterosexuality allow firefighters to frame their work in preferred, privileged terms while correctional officers struggle to combat taint discursively associated with low-level feminized care work or with brutish, deviant sexuality. This study extends theoretical understandings of identity construction, dirty work, taint management, and organizational performances of masculinity and sexuality. The authors’ analysis concludes with limitations, future directions, and practical applications regarding the potentially dysfunctional results of taint management.",
keywords = "dirty jobs, dirty work, gender, identity, masculinity, sexuality, taint management",
author = "Sarah Tracy",
year = "2006",
doi = "10.1177/0893318906287898",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "20",
pages = "6--38",
journal = "Management Communication Quarterly",
issn = "0893-3189",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sexuality, Masculinity, and Taint Management Among Firefighters and Correctional Officers

T2 - Getting Down and Dirty With “America's Heroes” and the “Scum of Law Enforcement”

AU - Tracy, Sarah

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - Based on qualitative field and interview data, this comparative analysis of dirty work by firefighters and correctional officers demonstrates that taint management and its relative utility is inextricably bound to and embedded within macro-level discourses. While firefighters labor to fulfill expectations as “America's heroes,” correctional officers work to squelch images as “professional babysitters” and the “scum of law enforcement.” The authors’ analysis illustrates how discourses of occupational prestige and masculine heterosexuality allow firefighters to frame their work in preferred, privileged terms while correctional officers struggle to combat taint discursively associated with low-level feminized care work or with brutish, deviant sexuality. This study extends theoretical understandings of identity construction, dirty work, taint management, and organizational performances of masculinity and sexuality. The authors’ analysis concludes with limitations, future directions, and practical applications regarding the potentially dysfunctional results of taint management.

AB - Based on qualitative field and interview data, this comparative analysis of dirty work by firefighters and correctional officers demonstrates that taint management and its relative utility is inextricably bound to and embedded within macro-level discourses. While firefighters labor to fulfill expectations as “America's heroes,” correctional officers work to squelch images as “professional babysitters” and the “scum of law enforcement.” The authors’ analysis illustrates how discourses of occupational prestige and masculine heterosexuality allow firefighters to frame their work in preferred, privileged terms while correctional officers struggle to combat taint discursively associated with low-level feminized care work or with brutish, deviant sexuality. This study extends theoretical understandings of identity construction, dirty work, taint management, and organizational performances of masculinity and sexuality. The authors’ analysis concludes with limitations, future directions, and practical applications regarding the potentially dysfunctional results of taint management.

KW - dirty jobs

KW - dirty work

KW - gender

KW - identity

KW - masculinity

KW - sexuality

KW - taint management

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84990393909&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84990393909&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0893318906287898

DO - 10.1177/0893318906287898

M3 - Article

VL - 20

SP - 6

EP - 38

JO - Management Communication Quarterly

JF - Management Communication Quarterly

SN - 0893-3189

IS - 1

ER -