Author

Carley Geiss

Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margarethe Kusenbach, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Emelda Curry, Ph.D.

Keywords

emotion, identities, social services, volunteers, workers

Abstract

Direct social service workers face a variety of difficulties including low pay, limited upward mobility, role ambiguity, and emotional exhaustion. This study adds to the understanding of the complexities of front-line service work with an analysis of the storytelling of case managers working with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Interview participants describe a problem of “volunteer expectations,” which they define as related to the organizational storytelling of the program: the images that entice people to volunteer do not match actual volunteer experiences. I argue that glamorized storytelling through marketing and recruitment tactics creates unintended, negative consequences for volunteers and case managers. This project contributes to the understanding of social services, emotion work, and the American “helping” culture.

Available for download on Thursday, March 29, 2018

Included in

Sociology Commons

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