Knowledge Work of Professional Clients

Authors: Oshima, S.

Editors: Engberg, J., Kastberg, P. and Fage-Butler, A.

Publisher: Routledge


Building on the literature on expertise as interactional achievement, this chapter explores a specific context of service evaluations between hairstylists and their clients. While client-professional encounters may seemingly entail obvious knowledge distribution – namely, that one actor (professional) offers knowledge as an expert in a given field, and the other actor (client) is the patron/novice who consumes provided knowledge – the participants in the haircut evaluation activity evoke and negotiate different domains of knowledge. For instance, while the hairstylists may communicate their knowledge as hair experts, clients may also professionally demonstrate their knowledge of salon rituals as well as their own hair types and lifestyles. The chapter aims to shed light on the clients’ knowledge work with a microethnographic analysis of how clients evoke and negotiate relevant and different knowledge by way of various vocal, verbal and material resources. In so doing, the chapter discusses the role of micro-actions in the construction of “professional” clients.

Source: Manual