Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Travis Linnemann

Committee Member

Jennifer Fish

Committee Member

Randolph Myers

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 T87 2013


The university is a privileged social space in that it functions as a pathway to social mobility for students, faculty, and administrators. University janitors, however, have very little chance for advancement or mobility. This places janitors in a somewhat paradoxical position, as they work to maintain an institution that contributes to prosperity for some and perhaps inequality for others. This study explores how the university as a unique social location and social institution shapes the experiences and perceptions of university janitors and their work. The researcher found that janitors are clearly at the bottom of the university hierarchy in terms of respect and status. They also lack a strong, collective voice and no adequate space to voice their concerns. The researcher also found that race, class, and gender inequalities clearly color their experiences.


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