by Wilfredo Alvarez
The Ohio State University Press, 2022
Paper: 978-0-8142-5826-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8142-1467-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-8199-4
Library of Congress Classification HM1211.A48 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.482


Winner, 2023 NCA Ethnography Division Best Book Award

Wilfredo Alvarez’s Everyday Dirty Work: Invisibility, Communication, and Immigrant Labor is an exploration into co-cultural communication practices within the workplace. Specifically, Alvarez investigates how Latin American immigrant janitors communicate from their marginalized standpoints in a predominantly White academic organization. He examines how custodial workers perceive, interpret, and thematize routine messages regarding race, ethnicity, social class, immigrant status, and occupation, and how those messages and overall communicative experiences affect both their work and personal lives.

A Latin American immigrant himself, Alvarez relates his own experiences to those of the research participants. His positionality informs and enhances his research as he demonstrates how everyday interpersonal encounters create discursive spaces that welcome or disqualify people based on symbolic and social capital. Alvarez offers valuable insights into the lived experiences of critical––but often undervalued and invisible––organizational members. Through theoretical insights and research data, he provides practical recommendations for organizational leaders to improve how they can relate to and support all stakeholders.