Youth labor is an important element in our modern economy, but as students' consumption habits have changed, so too have their reasons for working. In Consuming Work, Yasemin Besen-Cassino reveals that many American high school and college students work for social reasons, not monetary gain. Most are affluent, suburban, white youth employed in part-time jobs at places like the Coffee Bean so they can be associated with a cool brand, hangout with their friends, and get discounts. Consuming Work offers a fascinating picture of youth at work and how jobs are marketed to these students. Besen-Cassino also shows how the roots of gender and class inequality in the labor force have their beginnings in this critical labor sector. Exploring the social meaning of youth at work, and providing critical insights into labor and the youth workforce, Consuming Work contributes a deeper understanding of the changing nature of American labor.
Yasemin Besen-Cassino is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Montclair State University. She is the co-author (with Dan Cassino) of Consuming Politics: Jon Stewart, Branding and the Youth Vote in America, and co-editor (with Michael Kimmel) of The Jessie Bernard Reader.
Acknowledgments 1 Consuming Work: Introduction to Youth Work in America 2 "Would You Like an Application with Your Coffee?" 3 Fun or Exploitation? The Lived Experience of Suburban Youth Work 4 Pay or Play? The Youth Labor Force in the United States and Other Industrialized Countries 5 "They Need Me Here": Work as a Perceived Alternative to School 6 "White, Young, Middle Class": Aesthetic Labor, Race, and Class in the Youth Labor Force 7 Origins of the Gender Wage Gap: Gender Inequality in the Youth Labor Force 8 Conclusion: The Economic Recession and the Future of Youth Labor Appendix: Notes on Methodology References Index