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Sinners and Saints: Morally Stigmatized Work

  • Gina Grandy
  • Sharon Mavin
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Explorations in Workplace Stigma book series (PAEWS)

Abstract

Morally dirty work refers to organization, occupation or employment tasks regarded as sinful, dubious, deceptive, intrusive or confrontational. For those who perform such work (dirty workers), moral taint serves as a stain on the individual’s integrity, a defect of character that may stick even after the individual stops performing the work. Often such work can be simultaneously viewed in positive and negative terms, thus performed by individuals who, we suggest, can paradoxically be considered both saints and sinners. In this chapter, we explain what we understand by moral taint and the implications at the individual, group and organization levels. We discuss what we provocatively refer to as the most obvious sinners (e.g., casino workers, HIV/AIDS/addiction caregivers, genetic termination nurses, border patrol agents), the sometimes sinners (e.g., correctional officers, truckers, private detectives), and new and surprising sinners (e.g., bankers, nursing as pornography, secretaries). We conclude with areas for future research.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gina Grandy
    • 1
  • Sharon Mavin
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ReginaReginaCanada
  2. 2.University of RoehamptonLondonUK

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