Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Social policies since 1996 require that low income people participate in job training programs in order to receive social benefits under the “New Welfare State.” Many scholars have argued that job training programs aim to produce docile workers, who carry out only highly routinized work where little discretion is needed. Through ethnographic observation and interviews, I identify three means by which trainees manage the dual expectations of docility and the creativity demanded in a kitchen setting. First, they operate in a routine fashion, as if in a slipstream; second, they bank confidence by disregarding rules because of skill or favor by the chef; and third, workers take liberties and use resistance when not under surveillance. These findings suggest previous scholarship has overstated the extent to which the New Welfare State produces docile subjects, and implies that there are indeed a variety of outcomes of dignity and creativity for these workers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Sociology Commons