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社会学
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Eight— The Organization and Aesthetics of Culinary Life

图书名称:Kitchens:The Culture of Restaurant Work
图书作者:Gary Alan Fine    ISBN:
出版社:Berkeley: University of California Press    出版日期:1996年

Progress in civilization has been accompanied by progress in cookery.
—Fannie Farmer


Organizational interaction is embedded within a complex set of structural and cultural relations. A kitchen does not stand apart but is integrated into a division of labor, organizational ecology, political economy, and even the world system. By describing organizational control and aesthetic production, I have attempted to demonstrate that a perspective emphasizing interpersonal interaction and the power of meaning (an interpretive sociology, grounded in symbolic interaction) can be tied to a more structural and macrosociological view of social order (Manning 1992). Culture is not an autonomous realm (Sewell 1992)—a view that too often is a failing of microcultural analysis. Organizational analysis is enriched by the incorporation of alternative perspectives, permitting the multiflavored ingredients of the social sciences to become a glorious stew. The workplace is an arena of action in which we can examine such core concepts as organization, interaction, time, emotion, community, economy, and aesthetics.

In this concluding chapter I explore the implication of these central constructs that have animated this volume. To be sure, each chapter has relied upon the description of these core concepts, but here I hope to explore their implications both within and beyond kitchen walls.

Organization

The concept of organization is central to any understanding of human behavior. The first five chapters attempt to work upward from interaction and the person to examine how restaurants as organizations operate and fit into the interorganizational field and the larger economy. In turn, these systems affect the understanding of individuals and of the pattern and content of their interactions with others. Organizational domains are sensitive to the realities of meaning creation through interaction (e.g., Maines 1977; Denzin 1977; Faulkner 1983). This orientation presumes, contrary to some poststructural theories, that there is a world out there that is knowable and affects persons, and that "person" is a meaningful construct. Neither organizational structure nor persons are taken as absolute, but the reality of each helps constitute the other.

Traditionally understanding organizations has been a purview of macrosociology. This perspective is now being challenged by those, notably the new institutionalists, who disparage as misleading the divisions drawn between macrosociology and microsociology, between "culture" and "structure," and between rationality and emotional expression. From this perspective, organizations are maintained through "practical action," and groups within the organization may be loosely coupled in ways that seem disorganized or imperfectly coordinated. The structure of the organization is mediated by interactional relations and cultural images. The social world is not divided by levels of analysis, but each "level" depends on the other. The split between micro- and macroanalyses was primarily a function of an academic division of labor, which too often led to rivalry and disparagement. Microsociological presuppositions are key to an adequate macrosociology (Collins 1981), and the reverse is true as well (Fine 1991).

My data suggest that the decisions and social organization in the kitchen are channeled by the needs of actors to create pleasant and smooth workdays, and equally by the needs of organizations to operate in a highly competitive market environment, as filtered through perceptions and values of organizational decision makers. The relations of power and authority that operate within organizations have real consequences if these relationships are breached, but they do not stand apart from interaction systems. Sets of actors negotiate on the basis of their perceptions of the environment, but these perceptions have a direct, if imperfect, relationship to forces outside their control (e.g., customer flow or availability of capital for organizational expansion). Perceptions are never autochthonous but result from obdurate external forces. Both actors and external forces set constraints in which interaction is played out. Conditions of work, technological capacities, legitimate use of time, and relationship with management—all are tied to desires for personal satisfaction and organizational survival. Ultimately these structural elements of work are mediated by personal evaluations, but these evaluations are grounded in perceptions of an environment that has effects. While we must recognize the power of personal choices enacted in the relationships between individuals and small groups, the dimensions on which these issues are negotiated are based in a real and powerful structure of the economy and in the sweep of industrial production.

While choices are real, the effects of these choices affect others, altering their decision-making environment. The decisions of cooks affect servers, customers, and management. A situation can be defined as one likes, but the effects of that definition are not only of the individual's making (Fine 1992a). Providing the basis for a meaningful interactionist perspective on organizational structure is the realization that W. I. Thomas's famous dictum—the definition of the situation has the power to change reality—is true as written and false as often read (Goffman 1974), which gives too much power to the definer.

Restaurants, my empirical world, are both similar to and distinct from other types of organizations. Further ethnographic investigations, coupled with statistical and historical analyses, are needed to compare culinary settings with other systems. In particular, it is critical to recognize how those economic organizations that are small groups (single-celled) compare to other organizations that are larger and whose reticulation is greater (Gerlach and Hine 1970). Larger organizations provide a more profound challenge in that the research focus is diffused over a more extensive, more complex arena. In addition, future research should not be focused on a single occupation but should be enriched through a comparative focus. Although I have described briefly the organizational standing of dishwashers, managers, servers, and customers by limiting my primary attention to cooks, I downplayed the distinct contributions that the existence of multiple groups makes to an organizational division of labor. Further, it would have been desirable to investigate those sites and occupations that abut on these organizations—places in which one organization meets external resistance. In essence, this requires an ethnography of an organizational ecology: examining the nexus of the division of labor. A focus on input and output boundaries permits a description of how economies and social systems link.

Interaction

Just as restaurants are organizations, so are they interaction fields. Chapter 1 demonstrates the central position of action in the creation of restaurant meals—a perspective expanded in chapter 3, which explores the relationships among occupational groups in the kitchen. The connections among restaurant workers contribute to their experience of their employment and to their sense of identity: who they are within the workplace and what their work means to them.

While the conditions of the job contribute to satisfaction, friendships also help to determine the quality of work life. These restaurants are characterized by deep and real friendships that tether workers to the organization, and that contribute to efficient occupational performances. The reality that workers are friends means that they willingly help each other. This help supports individual workers, of course, but it also affects the organization: these ties bolster management goals. In the aftermath of a dispute within the organization, steps are often taken to heal the breach, as happened at the Owl's Nest, lest the breakdown in interaction affects the production of the kitchen. Interaction, while important to individual workers, has an effect on the system as well. Those who speak of an organization as a team focus on the smoothness of interaction and the ability of workers to create a flexible division of labor, permitting adjustments to the vagaries of circumstance.

The symbolic interactionist perspective underlines the centrality of the interactional domain for accomplishing work—an emphasis common to the writings of Anselm Strauss, Erving Goffman, Howard Becker, Everett Hughes, and Herbert Blumer, each of whom recognized the centrality of work in social life. The workplace—the kitchen—becomes a staging area in which meanings are generated, often through talk, but these meanings do not merely float in an undefined space but have effects on relationships and on patterns of action. Talk and action come to constitute the workplace. The construction of a meaningful workplace in turn shapes organizational outcomes.

The effects of organization on interaction patterns are equally real. As I have emphasized, interaction patterns are altered by forces over which individual actors have little control. For instance, the pace of work (as discussed in chapter 2), which generates patterns of interaction, is constrained by forces derived from management or externally imposed: the availability of resources provided by management (material and personnel), the work assignments of the employees (set by management but sometimes negotiated by a union or individual workers), and the customer flow (over which a frustrated management has little control). A restaurant with a kitchen staff of eight that serves one hundred people for dinner will generate dramatically distinct patterns of interaction than one with a staff of three. A restaurant that relies on microwaved products or mass-produced portions will operate under separate rules than one that believes in cooking from scratch. A busy night or season has different possibilities of action than a slow one.

In restaurants, as in other organizational environments, interaction is not an autonomous realm but is contingent upon structural forces. The workplace, because of its instrumental character and its placement within a macroeconomic order, demonstrates this constraint clearly.

As I noted when discussing organization, the selection of an organization that is functionally a small group hides some of the complexity of interaction patterns in larger organizations. Within restaurants one typically finds a single interaction system with rapid feedback loops. However, in other organizations—a factory (Dalton 1959), for instance—numerous semiautonomous interaction systems operate, which may only occasionally interface with and directly affect each other. The front office has an interaction system that, while it may occasionally have great influence over the shop floor, often operates separately. Those moments of bridging between arenas with considerable power and those with less have the ability to alter routine patterns of interaction. A decision to terminate workers or increase the rate of the line not only affects satisfaction levels and production outcomes but also affects the patterns of interaction among the participants in the relevant interaction systems. Examining these complex, reticulated interaction systems is an important direction for an organizational analysis that takes interaction seriously.

Time

Time is both a structural variable and a key element in the lived experience of actors. As I describe in chapter 2, experiencing time cannot be disengaged from work lives. Organizations have time patterns that are characteristic. In some, such as universities, workers (professors) have considerable "free time," with discretion on how to divide that time. The fact that a professor may only spend half a dozen hours in class each week is a subject for broad public comment, but this freedom does not, of course, mean that nothing is achieved during the remaining hours. Professors have great temporal autonomy, and the ability to create temporal niches of their own choosing. This contrasts to the stereotypical factory line workers who must actively carve out "times" for themselves in the face of management demands (Bell 1984; Roy 1959–1960).

Many occupations such as cooking have variable temporal pressures. As I describe, at times during the day and on certain days, work may be impossible to regulate. The kitchen rush represents a dramatically powerful effect of temporal demand on the performance of work roles. Thankfully not all kitchen time is like the rush. On other occasions very little must be done immediately and cooks have the autonomy to decide how best to prepare for their future assignments.

Like interaction, time is not autonomous. Connections exist among external temporal demands, the doing of work, and how workers experience their tasks. Emotion is produced by temporal demands—too much work in too short a time generates anger; not enough is boring; "flow" is a result of a fit between time and attention. By controlling the relationship between task and time, organizational authority channels behavior and experience. While the kitchen rush is a particularly dramatic instance, all organizations channel "time," generating immediate emotional reactions, mediated through workers' moods. The boredom of line workers or psychoanalysts, the stress of emergency room technicians or air traffic controllers, or the exhausted exhilaration of soldiers and football players influences outcomes. These reactions result from how the sponsoring organization and the individual worker structure time.

Crucial to my argument is how demands from the organizational environment influence the temporal pattern of tasks, which in turn affects the emotional responses of workers and, through this, the outcomes of work. Although the display of this process varies depending on the organization and the type of work, the connections among demands, temporal patterns, and experience of work are a sociological reality.

Time is crucial to the practical accomplishment and lived experience of work and connects to the constructs of authority, autonomy, aesthetics, and identity. The fact that, despite pressure, cooks (and all workers) perform as competently as they do, suggests that we are not only creatures of the tool but also creatures of the moment.

Emotion

Increasingly, organizational researchers have come to recognize that the workplace is not only an instrumental site but is also an expressive arena (Fineman 1993). As I note in my discussion of time, emotion is important to the performance of work. In occupations that have considerable contact with clients, the public performance of emotions (through emotion rules) is central (e.g., Hochschild 1983), whether that emotion is supposed to be professionally detached (Smith and Kleinman 1989), friendly (Leidner 1993), or threatening (Sutton 1991). Although these emotions may begin as performed displays, often they come to influence the way in which work is experienced.

Unlike servers and other public performers, most cooks operate in backstage venues. Their emotional reactions are little mediated by the need to impress clients, except in that general sense in which one wishes to reveal pleasant, cooperative emotional responses to one's colleagues and to be detached from the unpleasant feelings associated with stress. This performance is typically connected to standards of "professionalism." Backstage workers in practice collaborate with each other to support the emotional character of the organization and their own personal satisfactions. The display rules are displayed to an internal audience.

The reality that pressure exists to display positive emotions does not mean that positive emotions will necessarily be shown. Kitchens have the reputation for being brutal, loud places. While time pressures surely generate this emotional condition, they are not the only cause. The greatest source of friction is the differing responsibilities among occupational groups, as I describe in chapter 3. Each occupation group has its own needs and privileges. When the actions of other actors prevent meeting these needs or abrogate these privileges, hostility may result. Something similar may occur among actors in the same occupation who have different tasks, but at least in this circumstance they should be aware of the prerogatives of their colleagues, and negotiations should be smoother because of a greater knowledge of work domains.

Emotions of workers within an occupation are also linked to the satisfaction of doing the job "well." As I discuss in chapter 6, what doing a job "well" means is not a simple question but is connected to a sense of quality, mediated by the access to resources. Much emotion— pleasure and frustration—depends on judgments of work outcomes. Workers judge themselves and their organizational support when they judge what they produce or perform; when their actions or the support they receive does not live up to their expectations, and there is no means of excusing the failure, frustration results. This emotion work in excusing or justifying failure is displayed in the comments that cooks make to others, as described in chapter 7.

Additional research should explore how self-evaluation is mediated in those occupations that regularly engage in front-stage performances. When one does not have easy access to hidden spaces (for instance, lecturers or actors), how is dissatisfaction or joy masked to maintain the appropriate emotional front? To what extent does this process of masking drain and neutralize the inapt emotion; to what extent does the emotion appear in other venues or in other forms? What is the process of emotional transformation in occupations without an accessible backstage? By examining this issue, we can see the nexus of emotional display rules and felt emotion: the former generated by an organization structure, the latter a personal experience limited by organizational requirements—their linkage represents the mediation between structures and life worlds.

Community

Whether or not workers choose, they belong to a community. In sharing a place, they are forced to accept the presence of others. This spatial co-presence forces each to be cognizant or concerned about the other. This does not mean that they must necessarily like or support each co-worker, as abusive relations are found at work as elsewhere. Yet, workers cannot ignore those around them.

All communities develop routine expectations that organize relations among participants: norms and values. In addition, communities develop hierarchical structures that determine how rules for decision making and negotiation are generated (Levy 1982; Kleinman 1982). Participants in the community typically accept the need for some rules of ordering life, even if they do not accept the particular rules that have been established. Hierarchy is typically embraced as long as it does not excessively dampen the pleasant and effective performance of work duties or place too great a burden on one's identity as a worker.

A recognition of belonging to a community also helps workers to accept the requests from colleagues to aid in tasks set by management and the requirements of their occupational role. This desire for flexibility in the face of a division of labor justifies and encourages the development of a strong community and culture.

As noted in chapter 4, organizations can be more or less successful in the establishment of beliefs in community. Some restaurants are highly conscious of their communal character ("we are one big, happy family"), while others are more individualistic, more divisive, or less attuned to such collective rhetoric. Organizations can be seen as sites of contention as well as harmony. The meaning of each workplace needs to be created from local features—a group identity evident in the unique idiocultures that all small groups establish.

The cultural "lineage" of the kitchen channels those forms of behavior that can or should be performed: those meaningful to the group as well as those defined as appropriate. Work communities are cultural communities; it is through the process of "doing things together" that rules, procedures, and traditions are established (Becker 1986). In this, workplaces are similar to other interaction venues—including, notably, families—even though the level of commitment may be limited in work organizations. Culture becomes a reality for all those who are party to it.

This reality leads us to understand how the communal life of a work organization contributes to the occupational identity of the worker. To be sure, workers also develop a sense of identity from their own occupational socialization, but this socialization typically will occur within an organizational setting, often one in which several occupations come together to create a work culture. These interactions provide the worker with a sense of personal possibilities that defines his or her identity. The workplace is an arena in which selves are established individually and collectively.

Finally, smaller communities are nested in larger communities. Some organizational communities are well-organized "ecological systems," while others, such as the restaurant industry, are not. The high level of competition among restaurants, coupled with the temporal structure of kitchens and lack of occupational training ideology, makes the establishment of a tightly knit community somewhat doubtful. The absence of a vigorous, developed ideology that emphasizes a perspective that transcends individual establishments, incorporating the whole of an occupational group, may also decrease the perceived need for such collective organization. Each restaurant community copes with its own problems, in contrast to those occupations in which the problems of one establishment are linked to the problems of others. While restaurants have robust microcultures, their subculture is relatively attenuated when contrasted with other work worlds.

Economy

Throughout this volume I have attempted to remember that no matter the focus on individuals and interaction we may choose, occupations and work organizations are inevitably linked to a world largely beyond their control—an economic order. The economic order, in part, affects those patterns of interaction, emotional responses, and cultural practices within the organization, just as those patterns, responses, and practices affect how the organization will be able to adjust and compete in the larger organizational field to which it belongs.

Organizations belong to a field in which some survive and some fail (a market that we might claim reflects—perhaps tautologously—the survival of the fittest). My analysis has not explored this larger, economic field, which would require using multiple ethnographic sites. In contrast, my goal has been to examine how the interaction and symbolic world of the kitchen are affected by the encouragements and constraints beyond the boundaries of the organization. My primary data were collected within the kitchen but examined in the light of the chill world outside. To survive, organizations must cope with a structured environment that demands minimized fixed, labor, and food costs, together with maximizing the number of clients and the profitability of each encounter. Meeting these goals has a direct effect on how life in the kitchen is experienced and on organization output. Efficiency typically makes work life less pleasant and more demanding, and so organization must develop ways to allow workers to feel valued and satisfied despite the removal of "benefits" such as temporal niches and resource perks.

An interactionist understanding of work is consistent with an orientation that emphasizes the position of economics and markets. The world "out there" exists, although this world is known through collective representations of it. It is as if it were a collective reality. In fact, this world is constituted by individuals and symbols. Then this collective representation is taken as real and is given considerable power in the creating of organizations. Individuals are wise enough to realize that they are not free from forces that they cannot control. Only a few social scientists attempt to deny what is obvious and what their informants know is true.

Aesthetics

Cooking has had an ambivalent—and often distant—relationship to the world of art. All diners agree that the sensory characteristics of what is served matter deeply to the outcome. In that sense, as described in chapter 6, cooks have a sense of aesthetics as an integral part of their career concerns. Although that is recognized, it is equally clear that the cooking world is not a well-accepted art world as the latter is usually defined. As a result, cooks must negotiate the ways in which they are expected to take aesthetic concerns into account but simultaneously must do this with the recognition that they are industrial employees, and that their ultimate goal, if they wish to remain employed, must be to prepare food so as to be profitable and to satisfy both customers and managers. This is a delicate balance in that it involves questions of autonomy and control, craft and labor.

To some degree, every occupation must confront the relationship between the aesthetic and instrumental aspects of the job—although a different dynamic affects each occupation. The cook must adjust to those constraints that derive from the location of culinary work in the occupational order, the demands of customers, the time involved in preparation, and the cost of the ingredients. These issues were raised in chapter 5, where such concerns are analyzed in light of the restaurant's location in the marketplace.

In chapter 7, I address how, despite linguistic imprecision about sensory topics, particularly smell and taste, cooks are able to communicate effectively with each other about their experiences and judgments, making collective aesthetic activity possible. Along with understanding the possibilities of discourse, understanding the limitation of talk is central to the social construction of meaning within an aesthetic realm of knowledge. Since it is difficult—perhaps impossible—to share fully sensory experiences, especially those referring to internal impressions, cooks must rely on a set of shared references and develop a poetics of meaning that is grounded within the occupational order.

These issues need to be expanded in several directions. Viewing the occupational and organizational constraints of a single occupation is not a sufficient basis from which to generalize. While numerous investigations examine the constraints upon those occupations considered the "arts," the aesthetic components of occupations that do not have this label have not been well developed. Yet, every occupation has some connection with sensory and expression concerns. Each copes with a different set of constraints; describing these constraints allows us to expand the concept of "art world." The existence of multiple organizational constraints, perhaps involving whole industrial segments, underlines how workers must attempt to be and yet cannot be artists, because of both interactional and structural forces. All aesthetic venues are limited.

In my description of artistic talk, a closer and more detailed attention to the social construction of talk would have been desirable. My intent was not to do a conversation analysis of the talk of cooks, as practiced. However, such a detailed analysis would surely reveal much about the performance of aesthetic talk and the developing of verbal consensus. How in practice do workers create meanings that allow them to comprehend those things that have not been said, and are impossible to say, directly? Here organizational sociology and linguistics require an interface, a connection that only recently has been attempted (Boden 1994), but one that flows from my claim that structural features of occupational life are shaped by the interactional demands of workers. Organizations are constructed—in part—by talk.

The sociological treatment of the expressive side of production remains largely unmapped. A single case can only provide an outline for others to fill in. Specifically we must attend to locally based aesthetic choices. How do workers learn what is right and valued? What dimensions—instrumental and expressive—determine quality of production? How is "cultural capital" generated in work? Under what circumstances is elegant simplicity valued? When is self-conscious creation of the beautiful crucial? Issues of the aesthetics of performance and the aesthetics of material products need to be differentiated. Finally, comparative research on numerous occupations avoids the idiosyncrasies of the description of a single scene.

The expression of aesthetic choices and its relative salience depends on the work environment, the standing of the worker, and the particular work task. Workers' orientations to the expressive side of production are based on such core sociological concepts as convention, autonomy, and community; management's limitations are equally sociological, based on demands for control and efficiency deriving from instrumental requirements. Work is a minuet between expressive form and instrumental function. In this dance, as in others, he who pays the piper ultimately calls the tune.

In Sum

Throughout this volume I have attempted to present a sustained descriptive picture of one particular and specialized occupational world: that of professional cooks. However, in this I have intended for the reader to learn about more than the local problems that this narrowly focused band of employees faces in their quotidian chores. Cooks are enmeshed in an occupational, interactional, economic, organizational, and cultural web not of their making but one that they help to shape through their responses. In this they are active creators of a socially constructed world and set of work traditions and norms, even though the world is a large and powerful reality to which they must pay heed.

In recognizing that the world is structural and meaningful, I have intended to add ethnographic substance to the theoretical confluence of a macro- and microview of organizations. The examination of organizations must be grounded in empirical observations, and it is the connections that writers make with the "world out there" that determine the viability of broad theoretical approaches. Organizational analysis is a promising arena for the joining of analyses crucial to understanding the social order. The restaurant, as an organization in which groups labor to produce physical and cultural objects, is a social system that demands multiple—and linked—interpretations. If nothing else, it provides food for thought.

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