Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre Oakley

Second Advisor

Dr. Griff Tester

Third Advisor

Dr. Adia Harvey-Wingfield



This paper examines Family and Independence Case Managers in the social services in Atlanta, GA, as they negotiate a highly bureaucratized benefit delivery system that undervalues the emotional costs inherent in its operation. I begin with an examination of Weber’s (1946) theories of bureaucracy, as typified by three components of authority and control in the office. I proceed to Ritzer’s (2004) theory of “McDonaldization,” which advances Weber’s explication of ideal types of bureaucracy by highlighting four institutionalized dimensions of the corporate business model. Then, by incorporating Hochschild’s (1983) discussion of emotional labor, I include an analysis of the impact of emotional labor on workers’ experiences. I use a snowball sampling strategy, interviewing ten former colleagues. By employing the use of in-depth interviews, I attempt to provide an accurate depiction of the work-lives of these case managers and of the struggles they face in relation to their work and to themselves.


Included in

Sociology Commons