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Key to the midway : masculinity at work in a Western Canadian carnival Angus, Fiona 2000

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Key to the Midway: Masculinity at Work in a Western Canadian Carnival by Fiona Angus M.A., University of British Columbia, 1991  A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Department of Anthropology and Sociology)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  The University of British Columbia December 2000 © F i o n a Angus, i O O O  UBC  http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html  Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d b y t h e h e a d o f my department o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n .  Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r , Canada  Columbia  Date  1 of 1  12/18/00 7:12 P M  ABSTRACT Arising out of an intensive participant-observation research project in which the researcher travelled with a Western Canadian carnival for several months in 1996, working and living as a carnival employee, this ethnographic study of workers 1  in the carnival explores the intersection of gender, race, and social class that provides a work force who willingly undertake jobs that are characterized by hardship and exploitation. The subjective understandings of the workers towards their work and living conditions underscore the salience of gender (particularly protest masculinity) and social class (lower tier of the working class) and illuminate the finding that, far from seeing themselves as oppressed, the workers celebrate their work and the physical toll that it takes on their bodies. The carnival is male-dominated, and the social construction of masculinity combines with the heavy physical demands of most of the carnival jobs to produce a work environment with conditions that defy common-sense understandings of safety and endurance, but which the male workers, through their adherence to masculinist  i Explanation of Thesis Title: 'Key to the Midway' was a term used often in the carnival and it had amorphous and ambiguous meanings. I heard it used to refer to r-clips, which are multi-purpose clips shaped like a capital-R that are used to fasten rides together, lock ride doors, and hold up people's jeans' zippers. They came in a variety of sizes, from 1 inch to 10 inches. I also heard the term used in a practical joke that was often played on mooches (carnival customers). A carny would say to a mooch "Go over to that guy and ask him for the key to the midway [or can of striped paint, glass hammer, left-handed screwdriver...]." The other carnival worker would then say to the mooch "I don't have it. Go ask that guy." And so it carried on, as the mooch was sent from place to place to look for the non-existent "key to the midway". When pondering ideas for the title of this thesis, I thought about the elusive, ambiguous and, ultimately unattainable, nature of masculinity.  ii  ideals of strength and heroism, use to express their glorification of heavy, physical labour. The research also demonstrates how racialization processes outside the carnival predispose male Aboriginal and Metis workers to seek and find employment in the carnival, and that, despite the dominance of White owners and workers, no evidence of discriminatory labour or social practices was located within the carnival culture itself. Also examined is the issue of mental labour in a working-class environment, not from the traditional standpoint found in most academic discussions of the mental-manual oppositional dichotomy, but from the perspective of the practitioners themselves in the carnival's games, where the use of interpersonal skills is critical to their financial and social success. Despite the relatively few women in the carnival, their presence serves to validate one of the key tenets of protest masculinity — the norm of heterosexuality. Most of the young women in the carnival practice "emphasized femininity", a kind of femininity constructed in relation to masculinity, and designed to attract the eyes and bodies of men. This thesis examines some key concepts in protest masculinity and emphasized femininity, such as violence, mental and manual labour, and social activities, blending in issues of gender, racialization and social class, to add to the growing literature on working class cultures.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  iv  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  viii  PART O N E  2  CHAPTER I Going on the Jump and Setting up the Show: Introduction Introduction The Research Problem  2 2 15  C H A P T E R II What Route Do I Take to Get to the Next Spot?: Exploring New Ethnographic Terrain Introduction Carnivals: Definition and History Carnivals: Literature Case Studies Masculinity Conclusion  25 25 29 37 42 45 49  C H A P T E R III Getting Loked and Setting Up: Methodological Considerations Introduction Methodological Concerns Methodology  52 52 55 73  C H A P T E R IV Pig Iron, Joints, Royalty and Dogs: The Physical and Social Structure of Sullivan Amusements Introduction North American Carnivals Carnival Seasons and Routes Physical and Organizational Structure of Sullivan Amusements Conclusion  iv  86 86 87 93 95 119  CHAPTER V Cabanas, Donachers, and "Native Boys": Carnival Homes, Amenities and the Gendered and Racialized Aspects of the Carnival Hierarchy Living Quarters and Accessibility to Showers/Washroom Facilities Workers' Wages Gender and Ethnicity Conclusion  122 122 129 135 141  P A R T II  143  C H A P T E R VI Dee-Effers, Lifers, Lot Lice and Princesses: Theorizing Working-Class Masculinity Introduction Feminist Theorizing of Working-Class Culture Hegemonic Masculinity Working Class/Protest Masculinity Violence, Heterosexuality/Homosexuality and Femininity Gender and Social Class Race, Ethnicity and Racialization Gender, Race, Social Class and Protest Masculinity in Sullivan Amusements Conclusion  143 143 150 152 155 162 173 178 185 189  C H A P T E R VII Buckets, Bennies and Belly Cloths: Ride Guy Pride and Protest Masculinity Introduction Tear-Down at Sullivan Amusements Ride Guy Skill The "Feeding" of Protest Masculinity Taking It Like a Man Humourous Trickery Conclusion  192 192 197 ...201 202 205 214 216  C H A P T E R VIII Blanket Parties, Baseball Bats, and Broken Hands: Violence as the Means of Control and Expression in Protest Masculinity Introduction Verbal Violence and Deprivation Fighting Each Other Fighting With Locals  218 218 ....220 227 227  v  The Beating Crew Manipulation of the Carny Justice System Domestic Violence Violence Practiced by Women Violence and Race Conclusion C H A P T E R IX Razzle Games, Agents and Cooling Out the Beef: Gender, Race and Skill in Non-Manual Carnival Labour Introduction Description of the Joints Social Class and Game Joints Joints, Gender and Morality Skills in the Joints The Racialization of Joint Line Work Conclusion CHAPTER X "We're Just One Big Happy Family Out Here": Socializing with the Carnies Introduction Dinners, Movies and a Tan: Informal Socializing among the Royalty Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Informal Socializing among the Carnival Workers Beer, Breakfast and Posturing: Socializing in Public Places Barbecue, Ladies' Night and Pie Car Performances: "Organized" Social Outings Showgirls, "A Good Woman" and the Search for Prince Charming: Romantic/Sexual Relationships Informal Socializing on the Lot Racialized Social Activities and Relationships Conclusion C H A P T E R XI Tearing Down and Heading Out: Conclusion Fights, Hugs and Bitterness: Leaving Sullivan Amusements A New Appreciation for Comforts Making Sense of It All Locating the Key to the Midway: Research Findings Gender and Sexuality Processes of Racialization  vi  228 236 238 239 243 245  250 250 251 254 257 266 270 270  273 273 276 277 279 285 294 303 305 306  309 309 314 317 318 319 323  Class Some Concluding Thoughts on Sullivan Amusements Contributions of this Thesis Areas for Further Study Limitations to the Research  324 325 334 335 337  LOT CALL, P O E M BY T H E IMMORTAL T R O U B A D O U R  339  BIBLIOGRAPHY  340  GLOSSARY  349  APPENDIX A: Sullivan Amusements Personnel and their Jobs  354  APPENDIX B: Forms that (Some) Employees Signed  356  APPENDIX C: Interview Questions  358  APPENDIX D: Fair Board Contract (Memorandum of Agreement)  360  APPENDIX E: Hierarchy of Owners and Workers  ....362  APPENDIX F: Photograph of Sketch of Large Carnival Lot at an Agricultural Fair  364  APPENDIX G: Privacy and Confidentiality  365  vii  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis is dedicated to three fine men in my life for their strong emotional support and faith in me that never faltered — my sons, Matthew and Timothy Maybin, and my father, David Angus (1916-1996).  Enormous thanks also go to Dr.  Gillian Creese, my thesis supervisor, who provided me with ongoing intellectual and emotional support, particularly during the difficult writing process involved in this thesis.  My gratitude also goes to my friends and sisters, Deirdre and Mary, who,  though mystified that I would want to run away with the carnival, never wavered in their support and understanding at my need for unobstructed time to finish the writing. The research could not have been conducted without the co-operation of the owners of Sullivan Amusements. I am most grateful that they welcomed me into the carnival, and permitted me to undertake in-depth observation and interviews. Finally, immense thanks go to the carnival workers who opened up their hearts and minds to me, privileging me with their thoughts, insights and marvellous words, and extending the carnival camaraderie to include me, all of which combined to create the fruitful set of data upon which this thesis is based.  viii  Sam, a ride guy striking a "manly" pose on his ride truck  Parti Chapter 1 Going On the Jump and Setting Up the Show: Introduction 1  Cameron just came over to the ticket box a few minutes ago and asked me for a photo of myself and he said to me something that actually several people, especial joint people, have said to me, in this last two month period. He said "I have tremendous respect for you and what you're doing". I said "Really? Why?" And h said "Because you're the first person who has ever taken the time to really get to know the carnival and it's not easy what you're doing, and I have tremendous respect for you doing it." And I said "Thank you very much." Now coming from a guy like Cameron, who basically thinks that most women are scum, that's a prett amazing statement (Personal Notes 26-5). Introduction: In Experience.  Research. Social Change: Methods from the Margins (1989),  Kirby and McKenna argue persuasively that, for people in the margins, the opportunity to engage in, describe and offer an analysis of the ways that they negotiate their experiences rarely arises. They posit that such experiences offer important and insightful information on the way that knowledge is constituted, transformed and understood, provided that research on such groups is conducted with honesty, integrity and with the proviso that the research does justice to people whose experiences are frequently ignored, devalued or deemed to be unworthy of academic interest. As Skeggs claims, "there has been a marked tendency in recent years to move away from talking and listening to those outside of academia" (Skeggs 1997:2). Skeggs further admonishes social scientists for such a reversal which has serious consequences for those whose experiences are rendered  '"Jump" was a term that referred to the travelling between carnival spots.  2  invisible, thus segmenting social groups along class lines into domains deemed worthy or unworthy of study (Skeggs 1997:7). Working class culture is an area that deserves even more in-depth research than has been conducted thus far, specifically qualitative studies that closely examine the social patterns and behaviours of particular working class milieux. In particular, studies such as Paul Willis' (1977)  Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs, Thomas Dunk (1991),  Learning to Labour: How Working  the more contemporary Canadian study by  It's a Working Man's Town: Male Working-Class Culture in  Northwestern Ontario,  and the recent work of Beverley Skeggs (1997),  of Class and Gender demonstrate  Formations  the usefulness of research that focuses on the  standpoint of working-class participants. The question of why such studies are important, and need to be expanded upon, can be answered by a closer examination of working class culture, its class and race dimensions and clearly gendered norms and activities. I would argue that it is in the working class that the more stark and undiluted characteristics of gendered work and social activities are found, and that these aspects, although equally potent and significant in organizing people's social and work behaviour, become more subtle in form (on the surface) — although not always in function — as one examines more middle class work and life cultures. A s the emphasis on the body as a working machine and the task as a physical test of the body's abilities lessens towards a greater focus on sheer mental ability, so does the overt manifestation of gender in work become more diffuse.  3  No doubt one of the barriers to more scholarly interest in the working class (aside from possible academic elitism) is the pragmatic condition of access to it. People who are members of the working class are frequently fearful and disdainful of what they perceive to be academic intrusion or, in fact, any curiosity or even benign interest from classes "above" them. 2  It is certainly not difficult for members of the academic world to observe the working class from the margins. By this, I am referring to studies of working class domains in which the social scientist spends limited periods of time in a working class location, be it a place of work or social life. And there is no question that valuable data can be obtained from such studies. However, a more complete understanding of working class life can only be obtained through total immersion in the working class culture. Living and/or working as a member of the working class culture can provide the social scientist a dual set of data. Not only can the sociologist observe and record the lives of working class members, but he or she themselves can also record their own experiences as a (temporary) member of the working class. I would argue that this last point is particularly important in terms of providing a lucid voice for the working class. Many working class members, especially those engaged in marginal, low-paid manual labour, are not always highly reflective of the  I put this word in quotations as I personally do not agree that one class is superior or inferior to another in either structure or value. However, in most discussions on the concept of class, the working class is usually considered to hold lower degrees of power in society. Working-class members' self-perception of being inferior is critical to their need for respectability, especially for female working class members (see Skeggs 1997). 2  4  reasons why they behave the way they do, nor why the cultural milieu in which they exist contains elements of oppression and exploitation. The advantage to a social scientist immersing themselves in that culture is that they are able to provide that voice by their own experiences, and to gain a much deeper understanding into the norms and values of the working class by sensitive questioning and, perhaps, paraphrasing back to the subjects their own interpretation, in order to establish a clearer understanding of what is being said. As social scientists, we are trained to question assumptions and beliefs. Total immersion in working class culture, then, combined with the imperative to question and probe, can give rise to valuable research data in heretofore oft-ignored sociological terrain. As a sociologist with a particular interest in the working class, and many years' experience as a member of the working class , I have always felt "at home" in 3  a working class domain, and I feel that this experience and affinity have prepared me well to enter, and immerse myself, in one for the express purpose of academic study (not to mention the added benefits of engaging in unbridled laughter and jokes that are characteristic of the working class culture and sadly often lacking in the academic world!). When the opportunity to conduct research on a carnival presented itself to me, I had few reservations about entering the culture — a working class culture that, in many ways, was familiar yet also contained characteristics unlike any that I had  Before going to university, I worked for nearly twenty years as a secretary and radio operator in Canada and Great Britain in a wide variety of locations: pulp mill, R.C.M.P. detachments, doctors' office, lawyers' offices, construction company, fire hall, scientific instruments factory. 3  5  experienced before — as I was sure that I would be able to "fit in" with little difficulty. Both despite and because of its many unique characteristics, the carnival offered a working class environment that was able to provide much data into the working and social lives of working class inhabitants. Unlike most researchers, I did not choose to study a carnival and then actively seek one out for such a case study. In fact, I had already decided on a different area for my Ph.D thesis. However, penury and circumstance combined to alter that path, and the opportunity to study a carnival, quite simply, fell into my lap. Like most people, I was familiar with carnivals (or fairs as the public often calls them). I went to them as a teenager, and I occasionally took my children when finances allowed. My opinion of carnivals was probably similar to that of most people: dirty, noisy places which took on a particularly evil, albeit tantalizing, flavour at night; carnival workers seemed a sinister lot, unwashed and somehow quite alien to us. I would always hurry my children past the games of chance, and worry endlessly when they went on rides, convinced that the rides would fall apart and that the ride operators were uncaring about their human passengers. I certainly never wondered where the carnival workers slept at night, or ate, or how much they were paid. However, in the spring of 1996, I became a carnival worker myself, and many of my preconceptions were confirmed. Far more, however, were shattered as I entered deeper and deeper into the carnival culture.  My entry into the carnival  culture was precipitated by pure economics. For many university graduate students, an ever-present problem is the need to find money to live on between teaching and research assistantships, or to augment income from those sources in order to make  6  ends meet. Such was my case when, in the Spring of 1996, I received an offer, by way of a friend, to work for five days at a carnival in Vancouver, British Columbia. When I asked my friend (who was related to a prominent administrative employee in the carnival) what kind of work I would be doing, she simply said "Oh, I don't know. They'll find something for you to do" (personal notes). She also told me what I could expect in the way of a daily wage. My next step was to telephone the carnival owner to ascertain when and where I should appear, and again I received an equally vague response: "Well, whenever you can get here on Friday will be fine. Just come and see me in the office" (personal notes). I explained that I had a Teaching Assistant commitment at the university until 2:30 PM that day, and could be at the carnival location by about 3:30 PM.  I arrived and found the "office" which was a gaudily painted truck trailer; I  was then given a long-sleeved sweat shirt with the name of the carnival on it, and told that I was going to be in charge of the haunted house. Not only was I placed in charge of the haunted house; I would also have another employee to supervise. I asked what my duties would be. The answer was that I was just to let no more than ten people into the haunted house at any one time. The carnival was playing at a large indoor entertainment function where admittance was gained by buying a wristband at the door, which allowed people unlimited use of any of the carnival rides (including the haunted house); therefore, there were no tickets to collect. I also asked who it was that I would be working with. I was told that his name  7  was "Bob" and that he was "some twenty-four,year old guy that had been picked up 4  off the street". Next, I asked how long I would be working for that day (assuming it would be an eight-hour shift) and how the eating and coffee breaks worked. Rachel (the administrative employee) burst out laughing and told me that I would be working until the show closed that day and that I could take my breaks whenever I wanted. Thus, even before the work actually began, I began to sense that I was not in a conventional work environment: casual work start and end times, equally arbitrary coffee and dinner breaks, and fellow employees about whom very little was known by the carnival owners. I strolled over to the haunted house and offered a hand to my fellow employee, introducing myself by name. He and I took up our positions at the haunted house and learned how to do the job by trial and error, mentally counting the people who entered and exited the haunted house. We chatted in the quiet periods and I learned from Bob that he had hitchhiked and travelled by train (illegally by jumping into a boxcar) from somewhere in Alberta to Vancouver. He was living in a very rundown hotel in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and had learned about the carnival the night before in the bar of the hotel. He had come to the carnival lot that morning to ask for a job and had been hired that day. 5  Again, I was struck by the contrast between the usual process of a worker acquiring a job through the more conventional process of responding to an  "Pseudonyms are used for all carnival workers, as well as for the name of the carnival which I have called Sullivan Amusements. See Appendix A for a full list of Sullivan Amusements personnel referred to in this thesis. 5  See glossary for full definition.  8  advertisement in a newspaper, being interviewed and then accepted for the job, and this enormously casual process of learning of the presence of the carnival and then simply showing up at its location and being hired. That first day I worked from 3:30 PM until 11:00 PM, with random breaks. I did not know what time we would be finishing work that night. I was simply told by anybody that I asked that we would be finished whenever the bosses decided the show would close. Bob and I decided between us that we would spell each other 6  off for breaks, unless it got really busy. On my breaks, I wandered around the carnival lot, observing the various workers at the rides and the games, my carnival sweatshirt proclaiming that I was a fellow employee. For the first couple of days (and nights), I felt extremely uncomfortable. Upon reflection, I realized that this discomfort arose out of the fact that I felt very different from everybody else in the carnival. Many of the workers clearly knew each other very well, which contributed to my feelings of marginality. But I also was aware that I looked very different from them. I was clean, well-groomed (relatively speaking) and female. The majority of the workers were male, wearing dirty clothes and looking badly in need of a good hair cut. A s well, many of them were extremely thin, to the point of emaciation, and their teeth were in very poor condition. Their attitude towards me added to my sense of feeling alienated. During my strolls around the rides and games, I was stared at as if I were something of an oddity. I soon reflected on how I must have looked to them: if they appeared to me  6  See glossary for full definition. 9  to be somewhat of a collection of human beings with a lifestyle alien to mine, then I, perhaps, must have looked too "respectable". In fact, at one point, one of the workers asked me if I was a mother, because I "didn't look like a worker" (personal notes). Finally, on day three, one of the ride workers (Jim) came to a table where I was sitting on my break and introduced himself to me, joining me for a coffee, and the ice appeared to have been broken. A s he and I strolled back onto the lot together, many of the workers greeted me with hellos and smiles. And I suddenly felt more comfortable. By the next morning, I was greeted with waves, grins and catcalls of appreciation from the male workers. Jim, in fact, became a real friend to me over the next few months, and made a point of keeping me informed of rumours and the ongoing stories among the carnival workers. About mid-way during my first night working at the carnival, Bob came back from one of his breaks and said to me that "drags were out". Having no idea what that meant, I asked him, and he told me that it meant that the day's pay was available at the office. I responded that I would be getting paid at the end of my five-day stint and Bob looked quite astonished. Puzzled, I asked him what the drag consisted of, and he told me an amount that was less than one third of what I had been told I would be paid. I kept this information to myself, but was mystified as to why I should be getting paid so much more than Bob. In subsequent conversations with other carnival workers that day, I learned that all the carnival workers received this wage — $30.00 a day. During those five days, I learned more, through observation and casual 10  questions, about how the carnival operated, how the workers felt about their jobs and why they ended up working for the carnival; I began to jot their comments and my observations down in a little notebook. Jim, an Aboriginal man in his mid-40's, was from a small town on Vancouver Island, and worked as a millwright for twelve years. He joined the carnival three years ago, and loved "the freedom and the magic...there's nothing like the mud, the sun, the rain, and the real good people" (personal notes). However, inwardly, I questioned why a man trained and experienced as a millwright would choose to work at a job with such excruciatingly low wages and long hours. I also met Lance, a ride operator on the ride nearest the haunted house. Lance was 33 and had worked as a truck driver and in a pulp mill on the B.C. coast. He had actually answered an advertisement in the newspaper and he "just wanted to see what it was like" (personal notes). He, in fact, was utterly appalled at the long hours and the low pay but again, mysteriously, chose to continue to work for the carnival.  7  Lance told me about his superior on the ride: a French-Canadian male  who seemed to be extremely inept at his job, although he had apparently being doing the job for years: "It's the only thing he seems to know", said Lance to me (personal notes).  8  ln fact, he was later fired by the carnival. He became known as lazy and opinionated among the workers. He then became ill about one month into his work in the carnival, and was hospitalized. When the carnival owners learned that his doctor would not allow him to go back to work for several weeks, they took his "pink slip" to him in the hospital and fired him. 7  This man, along with his brother, apparently had a habit of showing up at the beginning of every carnival season for work, but rarely lasted a month. Twice they got drunk in a bar and were arrested and jailed. Another time they were fired for showing up for 8  11  The remaining four days that I spent working at the carnival were a blur of noise, exhaustion and mounting astonishment at what I both observed and experienced. I noticed that the majority of the workers were male: all the ride operators were male, and all but a very few of the games workers were male. The only females that I noticed were working in the food concessions, as well as Rachel and one other female who worked in the office. I also noted that, with the exception of a few Aboriginal ride operators, all the workers were White , and ranged enormously in age, from very young (some did not 9  even look as old as fifteen) to quite old (some appeared to be in their 60's ), 10  especially for the difficult manual labour involved in much of the ride operation. I was astounded at the poor wages that the carnival workers were paid (most of which they spent nightly on cigarettes and beer after the show closed).  I was equally  work drunk. When I asked Rachel why they kept re-hiring them, she just shrugged and said "Well, they know the rides. And we need them at the start of the season so they can at least train other guys to run the ride" (personal notes). ln Chapters Five and Six, where I discuss racialization, readers will note reference to a substantial number of Aboriginal and Metis workers. In fact, many of the "White" workers observed early in the research were actually Metis. 9  As I became more immersed in the carnival over the next few weeks, I discovered that I quite frequently incorrectly guessed workers' ages: Most people appeared (to me) to be at least ten years older than their actual age. Jim, for example, who had befriended me at my first carnival "spot" was actually several years younger than me, yet I had thought he was in his late 50's. Even the "younger" workers — who looked to me as if they were in their early 20's — were actually only 14 or 15. This had some amusing consequences for me personally: most carnival workers thought that I was in my mid to late 20's (rather than 47) and it was not until towards the end of the carnival season that my real age was 'discovered' somewhat accidentally when one of the ride guys, during a conversation with Rachel, alluded to our being of the same age (she was 26 at the time), whereupon she burst out laughing and informed him that I was the same age as her mother! This "news" quickly made the rounds of the carnival lot and I was besieged by workers over the next few days asking me if this was indeed true: despite my confirmation of this fact, many refused to believe me. 10  12  horrified by the long hours: apart from my first day on the job, I worked thirteen hours a day for the remaining four days. I found that by the second day, I was completely exhausted by the relentless noise and people, conditions which were such a far cry from the regular life of a graduate student which is usually very quiet and largely isolated from other human beings. And the questions began to pile up relentlessly inside me, much of them in the form of contradictions. I had come into this domain with a strong expectation that the rules and conditions of other workplaces would also apply here — why was it, then, that none of these rules seemed to apply in the carnival? And the few workers that I had come to know in my brief time with the carnival mostly seemed to have other qualifications and experience that would have rendered them suitable for other, more conventional and infinitely more pleasant and well-paid, work — why had they chosen to work here? Why was I being paid at one rate, and all the others at a much lower rate? And although the vast majority of the carnival workers gave the appearance of being highly unkempt and unhealthy individuals, they seemed to enjoy a strong camaraderie amongst themselves, which had, inexplicably, been extended to include me, although I certainly appeared in every sense to be so much different than they. However, the main questions that I was left with were: How can people do this kind of work on a full-time basis? And how is it that a work domain exists where most of our assumptions about work, workers and work conditions are so blatantly confounded by a milieu that appears to contravene nearly all ethical and legal standards of what is considered to be acceptable in a late twentieth-century western  13  work environment? At the end of the five days, I could barely feel or think with any clarity, as I was so completely exhausted. When I collected my pay for my work at the carnival, I struck up a conversation with the wife of the carnival owner. Lynn asked me what I thought of my few days of being a "carny ": I diplomatically declared that it had 11  been a very interesting experience. She then asked me if I would like to work as a ticket seller at their next spot, a mall in a small community just outside Vancouver, the following weekend. I said that I would and then casually mentioned that, as a sociologist, I had found it to be a very fascinating experience . She then invited me to work for the carnival for the remainder of the season and added that I would be welcome to do research on the carnival. I had already thought that the carnival would be a fascinating subject for my Ph.D thesis, but was sure that the owners would never consent to my conducting such a research project. I then explained exactly what I would want to do if I did conduct such research, indicating the depth of my research methods (interviewing and observing) and she said "Sure! We've got nothing to hide!" (personal notes).  This statement by Lynn was, I felt, significant  on two levels. First, it demonstrated to me that the practices of the carnival owners and workers were completely acceptable to the practitioners thereof; and, secondly, that perhaps they had been engaged in such practices for so long that, in fact, they were not even aware that many of their practices were both unethical and illegal . 12  "See glossary for definition. I explore the variety of illegal practices I located in the carnival throughout this  I2  thesis. 14  With this offer of the carnival as a research site, I talked to my supervisor at the university and confessed to her that I had been moonlighting as a carnival worker to make ends meet. I added that the owner had asked me to "go on the road with them this summer" to work and to conduct sociological research. 13  Fortunately, my supervisor agreed that it was indeed a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the inner work and lives of carnival workers.  Consequently, I finished up  my necessary university work, travelling on many occasions from March through May 1996 to join the carnival on weekends to continue observations and work, and then joined the carnival at the beginning of July 1996 in its long trek (10,000 kilometers, according to Paul Sullivan) through the four western provinces of British Columbia, ending in October 1996. The Research Problem Despite their frequent visits to various communities throughout North America, carnivals have rarely been the focus of academic inquiry (Bryant 1972; Truzzi 1973). In fact, there have been no sociological analyses of carnivals in Canada at all, and only a very few on carnivals in the United States, all of which are now nearly thirty years old . 14  Carnivals do, nonetheless, present a worthwhile area of study in work  13  See glossary for definition.  lt is important to point out that, given the elderly status of most scholarly literature on carnivals, their findings might be considered outdated by today's standards. Any references to this literature in this thesis in order to validate a statement will be corroborated by my own personal experiences and observations while working in the carnival. In fact, I found that very little has changed since these original studies were conducted. I4  15  organizations, gender, class, racialization, andsocial interrelationships. The carnival work culture provides a setting in which many people live and work quite differently than those in the larger culture. It is a unique culture populated by unconventional people with an intense camaraderie and a strong commitment to mutual obligations and expectations. However, as will be demonstrated, it is also the case that the carnival culture has applicability to other areas of social inquiry (e.g. work and gender, race and class). A significant feature of carnivals is the strong boundary maintained between carnivals and their outside communities which creates "a barrier to social intercourse with the outside and to departure that is often built right into the physical plant" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:550). The greatest difficulty presented to any carnival research, then, is gaining access to carnivals in a way that can reveal their culture in sociologically meaningful ways. Carnival owners like to present an image of respectability to the general public (Easto and Truzzi 1973:551; Hautzinger 1990:30) and generally permit only distanced, and glamourized, journalistic accounts of their domains to be represented . Journalists are considered to be outsiders and, as 15  When the owners of the carnival studied by me initially invited me to do research, they gave me a photocopy of a Toronto Star newspaper article written by a reporter who happens to be the son of the "doughnut joint guy" (owner of one of the independent food concessions). The carnival owners exhibited pride in the article which did, indeed, present the carnival as an exciting, magical place with hardworking employees but, significantly to me, omitted any real critical reference to the unbelievably difficult working conditions and hours, or to the harsh living environments for all but the most affluent carnival workers. In a more recent newspaper (August 1999), an article describing several attractions at an annual Vancouver exhibition similarly portrayed the owner of a large game concession (whom I met briefly) as a benevolent, compassionate employer highly protective of his employees: he and his wife are characterized as "...designated guardians for the 300 or so young people who work and travel with them". The article also quotes the games owner as organizing "an after-hours morale-boosting soccer game for his crew [in which] everyone l5  16  such, are kept at a safe distance from the realities of the carnival culture which are camouflaged by the illusion of respectability and are self-contained within the mobile carnival culture "like a ship" as Easto and Truzzi (1973) comment. Most accounts of the carnival are anthropological or journalistic descriptions from the perspective of an "objective" outsider that are "usually distorted in their presentation of carnival life" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:551). An examination of a carnival culture, from within the carnival itself, provides an increased understanding of the carnival work structure and the workers themselves. My observations from within the culture provide a valuable contribution to the present paucity of literature on these mobile and distinct subcultures that are, by their very nature, very difficult to enter, much less comprehend, unless the researcher is able to fully enter the carnival culture for a sustained period of time. As will be explained further in Chapter 3 (Methodological Considerations), I began this research project without a firm or focused theoretical question for guidance as the carnival constitutes relatively unexplored sociological territory. Consequently, I did not go into the domain with theoretical blinkers dutifully in place (as much positivist so-called 'objective' research is conducted). Instead, I entered with several research questions that were all connected to the starting question of: How and why do people engage in this kind of work? These questions were: 1.  How do carnival workers understand their work and life on an everyday  has to play. It's mandatory...". Considering that most carnivals do not close until midnight and that there are no days off, it is hard to imagine when these "after-hours" games actually take place or whether, in fact, they actually do (I do not cite the newspaper itself in order to maintain confidentiality, as the man's name and his photograph are in the article). 17  basis? 2.  How does the carnival, as a social and economic structure, operate on a dayto-day basis?  3.  What is the nature of the relationships between (and among) the workers themselves, and among the workers and managers?  4.  How do carnival owners find workers for the carnival jobs?  5.  How do the carnival workers gain access to the jobs in the carnival?  6.  What (if any) are the classed, gendered and racialized aspects of the work, the workers and their relationships to each other? These were the more general questions that informed the set of interview  questions, as well as my overall observations of the carnival culture and my own experiences as a worker. As the research progressed, I began to develop an unnamed but viable explanation for the initial starting question of why and how people do such difficult work under equally difficult conditions: there was something that eclipsed the possibility that other options were available to them outside the carnival and, simultaneously, reinforced that what they were doing was somehow of value to them as individuals and as a group. Credit goes to Thomas Dunk and his (1991)  It's a Working Man's Town: Male  Working-Class Culture in Northwestern Ontario with helping  me name what had  been unnamed: masculinity. I had taken Dunk's book with me to read during my time with the carnival and Dunk was enormously helpful in grounding the carnival research in something that aided me in making sense of my observations and 18  experiences, thereby helping me to 'stay sociological'.  Another book which also  proved to be very interesting, useful and stabilizing (although not purchased specifically for the latter two reasons) was Michael Holzach's (1993)  People: A Year Among the Hutterites.  The Forgotten  The carnival had been in a small town in  Manitoba and many of the customers were Hutterite.  One of the ride guys, whose  home was near some Hutterite communities, told me with great authority that it was common knowledge that incest was rampant among the Hutterites, and that Hutterites paid non-Hutterite males to father their daughters' children. Although I strongly doubted what he had said, my interest was piqued in the Hutterite community and so I purchased Holzach's book at a nearby bookstore. Holzach, a journalist, had spent one year living in a Hutterite community, immersing himself in the culture completely, and living fully as a Hutterite. Strangely, I found many parallels between the Hutterite community and its relatively insulated culture, and the carnival culture: I also drew empathy from Holzach himself as he grappled with inexplicable and often confounding practices that left him questioning himself as much as those he was observing. There were very few people in the carnival to whom I could speak completely candidly (other than my tape recorder which was a great therapeutic solace on occasion!) and I found that to read a few pages of Dunk or Holzach each night after finishing my shift in the ticket-box helped to 'remove' me as a worker and 'replace' the sociologist in me -- often a struggle, and one that become more intense the longer I stayed with the carnival. A s time advanced, I found that the 'outside world' receded farther and farther. I was acutely aware of this and made every attempt to 19  'keep connected', as to do otherwise could have tainted my observations by seeing everything as 'natural' and, therefore, unworthy of record or commentary. There were no radios or televisions in the carnival, other than in some of the royalties' fifth wheel trailers. Time was a blur of moving from spot to spot: even I, 16  recording daily on my tape recorder and always including the date, would have to count ahead from the last known date to find out what date it was. Even the days of the week were not readily known: if it was teardown  17  day, it probably was a Sunday.  I found that every person in the carnival with whom I spoke about this shared in the experience of not knowing what day it was, nor what the date was. Time was measured by spots : If one asked when something happened, the reply was always 18  "Two spots ago" or "The spot after [town]". A s I became personally aware of the fading of the world outside the carnival, I began to take steps to off-set it, for two reasons. The first was that, personally, I needed to know what was happening in the news and, secondly, I knew that it was also crucial to remain sufficiently detached sociologically and not fade completely into the carnival culture. On the jumps , I would listen to as much news as possible, which was often difficult as, in 19  the more rural parts of the prairie provinces especially, news was often very local and seemed to consist of wheat reports and obituaries. I bought newspapers daily but, again, the local papers (often the only ones available) contained equally limited  16  See glossary for definition.  17  See glossary for definition  18  See glossary for definition.  19  See glossary for definition. 20  and parochial information. When the carnival returned to British Columbia, about six weeks after I travelled with them, I finally saw a Vancouver Sun newspaper and literally jumped for joy — I read it completely and began to feel more re-connected to the world. None of the other carnival workers to whom I spoke knew about, or had any interest in, current events outside the carnival. Occasionally, I would have a newspaper with me in the ticket box and, at quiet times with few customers, ride guys would walk over and ask to borrow sections of the paper, but their preferred reading was magazines about tatoos or motorbikes. The other female ticket sellers' literary purchases consisted of National Enquirers and Soap Opera Digests, the latter being a particularly unusual choice of reading matter, given that the employees were effectively cut off from all television for eight months of the year. (Even though I offered them my newspapers, they declined my offers.) Despite my efforts to remain in touch with national and international newsworthy events, I discovered, upon my return from the carnival, that much had happened that I was completely unaware of, which added to my impression that, for a brief but significant period of time, I had all but disappeared from 'regular' society. It was only after re-entering my 'normal' world for a period of time that the explanation of the ethos of masculinity developed as a way to understand the overall social patterns that I observed (with the unwitting assistance of Dunk (1991) as mentioned above!).  This thesis, therefore, will show evidence of the ways that  masculinist norms shape, perpetuate and act, variously, as both a liberating and a constraining element in the carnival culture. 21  This research also adds to the growing literature on masculinities: As will be argued later, beliefs about masculinity are of critical importance to the way that workers (both male and female) perceive their jobs and their lives in the carnival. It is equally fundamental to the perpetuation of work and social relationships within the culture.  I also include discussions of social class and processes of racialization that  I located in the carnival. In the remainder of Part I, I present a review (Chapter Two) of the literature on carnivals much of which is mostly both sketchy and somewhat outdated. The literature review also includes case studies on particular working class cultures that inform both the methodology and the emphasis on masculinity in this thesis.  The  contributions of research on masculinity are also outlined, although a more full discussion on masculinity is found in Chapter Four. Chapter Three explains the methodology used in the research, as well as the debate over ethnographic adequacy as argued by Kenneth Stoddart: I offer evidence that I did attempt to attain such adequacy by the methodology as well as the ways that I dealt with my presence as researcher and ethnographer. In the final two chapters of Part I (Chapters Four and Five), I provide a detailed description of the social and economic structures of Sullivan Amusements, making linkages between the carnival that is the focus of the research and the earlier literature on carnivals, pointing out the similarities and differences that I observed and experienced. In Part II, I begin with a theoretical discussion of working-class masculinity (Chapter Six). The next four chapters focus on particular aspects of working-class  22  masculinity that inform the work and social life of the carnival workers: I look specifically at pride in manual labour (Chapter Seven), violence (Chapter Eight), mental labour used in the game joints (Chapter Nine), and social activities and relationships (Chapter Ten). I end with a concluding chapter that sums up my findings and discusses the future of Sullivan Amusements.  23  24  Chapter 2 What Route Do I Take to Get to the Next Spot?: Exploring New Ethnographic Terrain  I'm listening to Dwight Yoakam sing "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere" - and is i ever appropriate. Here I am, about 150 kilometers west of Yorkton, Saskatchewa on Highway 16, out in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but little old farms and fie and long, straight roads. It's about 9:30 at night, the sun's going down, Yeah, I see the sunset behind me in the rearview mirror. I wonder where I'll be sleeping tonight. I guess I'll be pitching my tent at midnight someplace (Personal notes 1 12). Introduction: In the previous chapter, I explained the rather unorthodox manner in which the opportunity to study a carnival became available to me. A s well, it was pointed out that the central research problem, and subsequent research questions, revolved around the many contradictions that I located through my observations and experiences as a worker. The guiding conundrum of this initial exposure to the carnival environment was equally as contradictory: Self-reflection during these early (and largely informal) research stages led to the tentative conclusion that it was very unlikely that I would find a theory that neatly captured the many nuances of the phenomenon that I was experiencing and observing. In fact, I considered various mainstream theories on work and social relationships in an initial effort to make sense of it all. But what I found was that I routinely rejected each of these theories as anomalies began to pile up to the point of necessary refutations of conventional theorizing. I chose to take a more ethnographic stance towards the carnival, by which I intended to act as a mediator "between two worlds or systems of meaning -- the  25  world of the ethnographer and the world of cultural members" (Van Maanen 1988:4). Although I knew that eventually I would need to select out a particular theoretical guiding principle in order to make a valid contribution to social science (as opposed to writing a purely narrative account of my carnival "adventure"), I did not want to make the mistake of deciding  a prioriwhat this theoretical  framework would be, lest  it not only taint my data collection but, even more importantly, render me blind to other phenomena. Kirby and McKenna caution the social scientist who researches from the margins to "listen to our instincts", by which they mean that we need to "recogniz[e]/embrac[e] the contradictions and questions that often make us most uncomfortable" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:31).  I chose just such an 'uncomfortable'  route so that all the voices and experiences (including my own) could be accommodated in the research process. Adding to the discomfort was the essentially atheoretical starting point for the project. I was acutely aware that I was about to traverse a terrain that did contain some possible methodological landmines for a sociologist; conducting research on a quixotic and unpredictable social landscape would no doubt require some occasional quick-thinking in order not to become alienated (possibly to the point of being expelled) from the culture itself. And, from a scholarly point of view, I also knew that I was embarking on a type of research that is not always considered to be highly conventional in mainstream sociology. Van Mannen, perhaps rather harshly, condemns conventional sociology for its "status hierarchy" which rewards those who concentrate on building theory sometimes to the extent that the empirical world 26  simply vanishes (Van Mannen 1988:20).  He further argues that sociological  ethnographies (as opposed to anthropological ethnographies) are considered by the discipline of sociology to be "a low-budget, modest, somewhat odd, ...more or less respectable product that is peripheral to the field and its goals" (Van Mannen 1988:22), and that: Sociological fieldworkers have long been considered by their social science colleagues as students of "nuts, sluts, and perverts" (zootsuit sociology) (Van Mannen 1988:42). It is certainly the case that, among many of my university peers, my having "run away with the carnival" for eight months elicited many comments that reflected a mixture of awe, horror and vicarious envy, a testament to Van Mannen's statement that many people regard such an ethnographer "as an exotic-mongering romantic who seeks only to don a loincloth and dance by the fire with savages to the beat of the Tom-Tom" (Van Mannen 1988:39). Fieldwork may, of course, be conducted in such romantic, constantly pleasurable surroundings. However, a more fair characterization of in-depth (meaning total immersion) ethnographic fieldwork, especially when conducted from the margins on the marginalized (as is the case of this carnival project), is that it is often extremely demanding: physically, emotionally and hermeneutically. The above rather lengthy precursor to this literature review is a necessary caveat to the somewhat unorthodox process that I followed in order to buttress myself sufficiently in terms of worthy scholarly readings in preparation for the research but, at the same time, not become saturated to the point of developing a kind of research myopia, wherein I might only see what I chose to see (which would  27  have admittedly made the data collection and this written project a much easier task, but would have done a grave disservice to the carnival workers and their lives).  In  short, I chose to take a more inductive route to advancing knowledge, rather than the deductive model that effectively pre-determines the theory within which one is obliged to more, or less, rigorously reside as, even if the end result is a refutation of that theory, the very presence of such theory throughout the research project necessarily limits one's scope of observation to the theory's parameters. Once I learned of the almost complete non-existence of any previous literature that specifically examined North American carnivals, I felt ethically compelled to conduct the research in as inclusive a manner as possible: utilizing ethnographic techniques, but with the end goal of contributing to existing research on one or more elements of the sociology of work, that would include, but not necessarily be limited to, issues of gender, class and race. Once my status as a carnival worker qua carnival worker transformed into that of researcher and worker, I embarked on a search for any other sociological (and anthropological) literature on the carnival that would be relevant. A s reported below, the findings were few and dated. My next endeavour was to broaden the search scope to include descriptive case studies and/or ethnographies of other working class milieux, particularly studies of male-dominated locales: as I explain further in this chapter, two of these had especially profound implications for me, in providing me with some necessary starting-points from which to begin the research project and, later, for supplying some of the more significant explanations for many of the paradoxes that I found within the carnival. 28  After leaving the carnival at the end of the season, I immediately embarked on transcribing my research tapes, a process which took many months due to the omnipresent background noise in all of the tapes. I experienced a strong sense of emotional withdrawal in the months immediately following my re-introduction into mainstream society. I was careful to analyze why and how this evolution occurred, and I found that as I became more accustomed to my former life and surroundings, patterns began to emerge in the data that I had not seen so readily during my total immersion in the carnival culture. It was after these patterns emerged, then, that I set out on my second search for literature that focused (mainly) on issues of working-class masculinity, especially protest masculinity, femininity and the relations between, and within, these gendered aspects. I now present in more detail the literature that, initially, provided me with some valuable insights into the carnival social world and, later, strengthened my findings of the salience of gender in the ways that carnival workers understand and, variously, negotiate and resist, their social and work worlds. However, it is necessary for me first to fully define what is meant by "carnival" before continuing with my discussion of the literature search. Carnivals: Definition and History According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a carnival is defined as a travelling funfair or circus. Similarly, Samuel Kinser refers to it as "a travelling collection of amusements which include games of chance, sideshows, and thrilling rides" (Kinser 1990:3). It is difficult to precisely define a carnival because, as Easto and Truzzi (1973) state, carnivals vary tremendously in size and components, and 29  have altered in meaning enormously over time. The word "carnival" originates in fifteenth century celebrations of pre-Lenten meat-eating (Kinser 1990:3), but developed a broader meaning in "the commonplace American sense of gaudy and somewhat disreputable pleasure" (Kinser 1990:4). The carnival in its present form in North America has roots in the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago, and evolved into a portable melange of attractions that travelled to small towns and agricultural fairs (Easto and Truzzi 1973:554-555; see also Bryant 1972) . Carnivals have 20  historically had a distinctively seasonal flavour, beginning with their connections to religious and pagan festivals but now (with the exception of Southern United States carnivals) for the more pragmatic economic reason that, as outdoor operations, the carnival is most attractive to its customers in the warmer spring, summer and early fall months. It is also important to distinguish between carnivals and circuses. As Easto and Truzzi (1973) point out, carnivals have a very distinct and separate cultural character from circuses. Circuses are primarily displays of entertainment with minimal customer/worker interaction, as opposed to the carnival that thrives and, in fact, depends on customer interaction. Circuses also differ from carnivals organizationally. They usually have one owner, for whom all employees work, in contrast to carnivals which, despite having one owner, also have contracts with  A more recent source, the (United States) Outdoor Amusement Business Association, states that the first carnival in North America appeared in 1894 when Frank C. Bostock created a model of an English Fair in the U.S. (O.A.B.A.:2000 'Carnival Facts'). 30  "independents" who pay the show owner either a percentage of ticket sales or a 21  flat rental fee (independents in Sullivan Amusements pay strictly on a percentage basis). Another important distinction concerns the carnival's labour force. Circuses have a relatively stable work force, whereas many carnival workers are transient, moving in and out of carnival work throughout the season, as well as between different carnivals (Easto and Truzzi 1973:553; Hautzinger 1990:29), a feature particularly common to ride and games workers. As well as defining the carnival in terms of its history and its distinction from the circus, it is salient to this thesis to define it by its features. The most accurate definition (by today's standards and relevant to the particular carnival that is the focus of this study) is one offered by Easto and Truzzi (1973) (see also Bryant 1972) . 22  Carnivals contain three main features: rides, which are, as Bryant claims,  the "backbone of the carnival" (Bryant 1972:183); games; and food concessions (these latter two are also known as joints ). There are also a few "novelty joints": 23  21  See glossary for definition.  l will modify these literal definitions in order to bring them up-to-date. For example, they refer to shows or exhibits as a basic carnival component which, now, no longer exist, due to legislative bans and public moral outcry. Examples are freak shows (e.g. 'twoheaded babies'), 'girlie' (strip) shows, or animal acts (Easto and Truzzi 1973:552; and see also Bryant 1972:185). The carnival that I studied was one of the last carnivals in North America to have vestiges of these shows, according to the carnival owner. As recently as the early 1980's they still had a 'fat lady' (who used to have to be shoved through the door of the pie car and would sit on 'ride guys' as a joke) and a fake 'monkey' show — when the owner's son was aged about eight years old, he would be dressed up as a monkey and perform as such (field notes). 22  23  See glossary for full definition. 31  concessions where stuffed animals and other toys and trinkets are sold. Carnivals range enormously in size, from small operations containing only a few of the above features, to larger enterprises like the carnival studied in this research project. The very large carnivals have over one hundred rides, fifty food joints and one hundred game joints, all travelling together in a convoy of large trucks and trailers, motorhomes and fifth-wheel trailers (O.A.B.A.:2000, 'Carnival Facts'). At carnival sites, the rides are usually arranged (or 'loked' ) in a horseshoe shape, 24  with food joints and ticket boxes centrally located, and game joints located in the middle of the midway , as well as between rides. 25  The workers in carnivals can be categorized as follows: the show owner (usually white male) and other managerial personnel (predominantly white male); independent ride, game and concession owners/workers (all male); ticket sellers (all female); and ride operations (usually a foreman and his assistant ). 26  There is a clear social hierarchy among the carnival personnel, indicative of its element of "latent feudalism" (Bryant 1972:192). Gross (1978:131) also highlights the "pre-industrial setting" of the carnival. The highest rank is held by the show owner, whose power to (usually randomly) hire and fire is both respected and feared by workers. Bryant characterizes the show owner as resembling "a Chinese war lord, a panzer general, or a feudal nobleman overseeing his fief in performing  24  See glossary for definition.  25  See glossary for definition.  l use the male form deliberately: with the exception of a very few female ride workers on the small children's rides, all ride operators are male in the carnival. 26  32  his work role" (Bryant 1972:192). Closely connected with the show owner are the administrative personnel, often related by family or through friendships (Easto and Truzzi 1973:559), who act as conveyors of undesirable information concerning employees' behaviour to the show owner and, variously, control the day-to-day financial dealings, supervise the activities of the ride foremen, conduct the electrical and welding maintenance work, and handle customer complaints. Beneath this group are the independent owners/workers, with the independent ride owners holding prestige equal to the administrative staff: the larger (more expensive) the ride, the higher the status of the owner. The independent food concession owners and workers hold a more distanced status but enjoy overall respect. The game concessions workers, however, are largely scorned by the other carnival workers, especially by the ride guys. Easto and Truzzi (1973) place the ride guys at the bottom of the hierarchy but, based on my experience with the carnival, I found that the "joint bums" were considered by all other employees to be beneath 27  contempt (with the exception of some highly skilled "agents ") — there is rarely any 28  socializing between joint bums and other carnival workers (Hautzinger 1990:29). These distinctions have remained relatively constant over time (Easto and Truzzi 1973; Bryant 1972). The carnival work (and social) domain can be characterized as a highly differentiated prestige system, which may not be readily apparent to an outside  "This was the name given to workers in the joints, although they rarely referred to themselves as joints bums, preferring the term "joint liner". 28  See glossary for definition. 33  observer. There is, however, a very strong sense of community that draws all carnival workers together. This is evident in the close socializing of carnival workers both during and after work (although there is a clear class-based line of demarcation between the groups: the "royalty" rarely associated themselves socially with the other carnival workers). However, class lines disappeared during times of crisis: I observed (and experienced) several occasions that drew all carnival workers together. At one spot, a large cable burst into flames in front of my ticket box, and the electrical power was cut off from several rides and concessions as a result.  In a  matter of seconds, a make-shift fence was erected to protect the public, the fire was extinguished and the carnival electrician hastily re-joined the cable. The personnel involved in this endeavour included "royalty", ride guys, joint bums and food concession workers. A strong value in the carnival is freedom, and it is a reason given by many workers for joining the carnival (Bryant 1972:193; Easto and Truzzi 1973:559). The freedom that workers seek is freedom from conventional organizational life, wherein they have found rejection (Hautzinger 1990:30), which creates something of a paradox. Carnival life is mind-numbingly difficult and exhausting, due to very long working hours (often fourteen hours a day, seven days a week), ever-present noise, crowds of people and often adverse weather conditions (Bryant 1972:187). Although they do not attain freedom in the environmental and structural conditions of carnival life, workers find freedom in the form of escape from past mistakes. Being hired by the carnival involves minimal formality: people are literally hired at face value and their past is never investigated. As Bryant states, "once hired, an 34  individual is assured of anonymity if desired and knows that no one will pry into his [sic] past history or personal business" (Bryant 1972:193). Thus, even if a carnival worker has a criminal record, or a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, he or she is not seen by others (or self) as bad or evil for, as Bogdan states in his discussion of "showmen", "groups that defy societal norms seldom do [see themselves as evil]" (Bogdan 1988:92). This norm of assured privacy manifests itself similarly in the shared expectation that workers do not impose their will or opinions on others; transgression of this norm results in ostracization (Bryant 1972:193). Such violators are considered to be troublesome by both workers and administrators, and are immediately fired. I did, however, notice a gender difference in the levels of tolerance of such behaviour by the "royalty". The transgressions by females were more likely to be ignored or minimized, as a consequence of the somewhat contradictory notion that although females and their gendered work were considered of less importance, female workers for those jobs were usually harder to find. It was never a hardship for the carnival bosses to find male workers; at every spot we played, men came onto the lot looking for work. But there were far fewer jobs available for women in the carnival, and only rarely did women come specifically to find work at the carnival. Although hiring is conducted easily and informally, full acceptance into the 29  See Appendix B for the forms that some of the Sullivan Amusements' personnel signed. I was aware of only two people — both ride guys — who actually had been asked to sign these forms. 29  35  carnival community does not occur so readily. To be accepted by the other workers, the newly hired person must demonstrate particular qualities, most notably the rejection of "the way of life of the ordinary people in the outside world" (Bryant 1972:192). Friendliness, mutual respect and the willingness to help in any circumstance are expected and crucial for acceptance into the group culture. Any worker (the exceptions being the show owner and administrative staff) who is perceived to be snobbish is also restricted from entry into the carnival community. The carnival work and social structure, then, provides a location in which many individuals can exist in a way that they may not be able to do in mainstream society. A s Bryant states, "in a setting where one's personal idiosyncracies, abnormalities, and aberrations are discounted or overlooked, the individual surely enjoys a 'therapeutic milieu'" (Bryant 1972:197). An important aspect of this therapeutic autonomy is the distinction made by carnies between themselves and the customers, or any person who lives outside the carnival (known as "locals"). It has already been noted that the carnival owners try to present an image of conformity to the norms of the outside world.. The carnival workers and customers, however, "share a degree of mutual hostility", which Bryant attributes to the carnival's earlier history of exploitation and "residual cynicism" between workers and the general public (Bryant 1970:187). The general view held by carnival workers is revealed in the names used to describe customers: marks, squares or suckers  30  ln fact, the only one of these three terms that I ever heard used was "mark", and the most commonly-used name for a customer was "mooch", particularly by the joint bums. The ride guys would call the customers "locals". 30  36  (Bryant 1970:188; Hautzinger 1990:31; Oliver 1966:281). Carnival workers know that customers are suspicious of them (especially the game joint workers) and derive great pleasure in taking customers' money in an almost retaliatory response to what carnival workers consider to be the contemptuous conventional life and work that most customers are engaged in (Bryant 1970:188). Carnivals: Literature As mentioned in the first chapter, the literature on carnivals is sparse. Carnivals have been largely ignored by the sociological community, other than for a brief period in the 1970's. Literature on carnivals can be loosely categorized in the following ways: I located an abundance of anthropological studies of particular Carnivals (e.g. Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or Brazil) whose main foci are the Carnivals' history in terms of cultural and symbolic meaning to the greater culture in which they reside and the relationship between the Carnival and its costumed participants, with frequent references to Mikhail Bakhtin's (1965)  Rabelais and His World (Damatta  1991; Kinser 1990; Logan 1986). These Carnivals, and studies thereof, bear little resemblance to the carnival as defined in this thesis, as they are situationallyspecific and bound up in strong and particularized cultural beliefs and religious practices. The only contribution of this type of anthropological literature to this project is some of the historical data contained in introductory chapters. A more contemporary, and applicable, study is  Making the Jump"  "American Carnival Speech:  (1990) by Sarah Hautzinger. Hautzinger, then an Anthropology  graduate student, wrote this very brief article as a result of working in a carnival. 37  She makes the point that the unique speech used by carnies is an example of their attempts to maintain their "distinctive culture" despite "rapid turnover and permeable boundaries" (Hautzinger 1990:29),  She further points out that a key criterion for  entry into the carnival culture is knowledge of this language, illustrated in an example I provide of a carnival worker's (John) entry into the carnival in Chapter Four. There appear to be no further publications by Hautzinger which is unfortunate, as her contribution towards an understanding of the carnival language as a linguistic manifestation of the unique and exclusive nature of the carnival culture, despite the paper's brevity, is significant. In the glossary, I make reference to Hautzinger's entries, to distinguish between terminology that I also found, that may or may not have changed in meaning, and words that are not found in Hautzinger's glossary. The remainder of the sociological literature on the carnival is sparse, scattered, somewhat dated, and highly introductory in focus. The most useful literature is offered by Easto and Truzzi (1973), in an article entitled  Ethnography of the Carnival System",  "Towards an  to which I refer in the previous section. As  carnival participant-observers, Easto and Truzzi provide valuable insights into the carnival culture, and urge further sociological inquiry, but with little guidance other than the necessity for the researcher to dig deeply into the carnival culture in order to uncover the well-hidden elements that truly define the carnival experience. "introduce the carnival to the social scientist" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:551) by explicating the carnival's complex work and social structure, pointing out the features of the carnival culture that "future ethnographers will have to carefully  38  They  consider if they wish to gain entry into the private world of the carnival and if they do not wish to be misled by their informants" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:564). Both despite and because of the age of this piece of literature, the value to my research project is that it shows that very little has changed in the carnival culture since the early 1970's — indicating the endurance and tenacity to its structure and social relations. The drawback, however, is that the article offers no theoretical guidance or explanations, other than to argue that the carnival is an example of what Goffman (1961) calls a total institution, which is an institution that is characterized by barriers to the outside world and, likewise, from the inhabitants in interacting with that outside world. As this thesis will argue, however, the carnival is not as insulated as many of these earlier social scientists insist. In fact, many of the practices and behaviours of the carnival workers are a direct response to the outside world, both before and during their time in the carnival. What does remain constant, however, are the manifestations of that interaction, which is actually a form of "cultural penetration" (Willis 1977:185), or ways of simultaneously resisting and accommodating the more mainstream cultural norms of that outside world. An important point that Easto and Truzzi do make is that the only way that the social scientist can gain entry into the carnival, and therefore be able to tell when they are being "misled by their informants" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:564) is to become a carny, which means being totally accepted by the other carnival inhabitants. In Chapter Three, I provide evidence of my claim of ethnographic adequacy (Stoddart 1986), acquired largely through being privileged with complete acceptance by the majority of the carnival 39  workers. Bryant's (1972) article, entitled  "Sawdust in Their Shoes: The Carnival as a  Neglected Complex Organization and Work Culture"  presents a structural  description similar to that offered by Easto and Truzzi, but, again, no theoretical rigor or direction, and ends with a plea to the "sociological researcher to 'get sawdust in his [sic] shoes' [in order to examine the]...'near-community', a social group with intense solidarity, and a highly distinctive subculture" (Bryant 1972:197). Similarly, Theodore Dembroski in "Hanky  Panks and Group Games versus  Alibis and Flats: The Legitimate and Illegitimate of the Carnival's Front End " 31  corroborates Easto and Truzzi's (1973) structural account Of the carnival, but also offers only a "descriptive overview of one major segment of the carnival, the frontend" (Dembroski 1973:582) and calls for further in-depth sociological study of the carnival, as "a mobile social system and unique subculture" (ibid.). Beyond these articles, the remainder of the sociological literature is scant and diverse. The only theoretical attempts at understanding the carnival are found in David Gross' (1978)  Carnivaf,  "Culture and Negativity: Notes Towards a Theory of the  but the focus of the article is on the relationship that the carnival has to  the larger community — the 'deviant' aspects of the carnival culture and their role in satisfying the larger culture's need to rebel against greater societal norms from a Foucauldian analysis of madness. There are only two other pieces of literature that contribute to this thesis in  31  See glossary for definitions of these terms. 40  (1973  their illumination of the experiences of being a carnival worker. In  Through Miniatures: Bill Austin's Roadside Carnivaf  "Enlarging Life  (1992), Joanne Raetz Stuttgen  offers a brief case study of a retired carnival ride worker and his post-retirement project of building miniature carnivals. Within the article, Stuttgen offers brief, verbatim quotations from Austin about his life as a carnival ride operator and electrician, arguing that making the miniature rides enables him to disengage from the "intimate social arena of the carnival work world" (Stuttgen 1992:304), adding to an understanding of the unique social complexities of the carnival culture. Unfortunately, Stuttgen largely romanticizes Austin's carnival experiences, deeming them to be "amazing feats" (Stuttgen 1992:306), such as Austin's driving "all night after a full day and evening of work to retrieve a replacement motor for a burned out ferris wheel" (Stuttgen 1992:306). I found that this was a frequent and highlyexpected job duty for the carnival drivers and mechanics and, in fact, such a protracted work day and night was the experience of nearly all carnival workers. Stuttgen offers no sociological analysis of this work expectation nor of the workers' responses to these inhumane working conditions, other than to re-state the framework of heroism in which Austin recalls his days of being a carny. Another glimpse into the lived experiences of carnival workers is found in Hazel Elves' (1977)  It's All Done With Mirrors: A Story of Canadian Carnival Life —  the only piece of literature that I located on the Canadian carnival experience. It is an autobiographical account of Elves' life as a carnival worker, but may have little scholarly relevance as it is a strictly personal account, although it does relate "a story of the people, the illusions and the fun of carnival life told by a woman who has 41  experienced it first hand" (Elves 1977:back cover). Case Studies As so little current sociological literature exists on the carnival, the theoretical literature that informed the research project itself was broadly inclusive of the areas of inquiry that were the focus of the research. The areas of inquiry were the social and economic relations of work, with an inclusion of gender, race and class of the workers and their work. The methodology is ethnographic in design and intent and was guided by the feminist research principle that, by definition, "is critical of mainstream research both because it is based on assumptions which often support and legitimate particular political and social interests, and also because it ignores many areas of experience" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:22). Because there are no in-depth cases studies, ethnographic or otherwise, on carnivals in Canada (and very few of any real value in the United States), I drew upon ethnographic case studies that examine particular working-class cultures that include gender, race and class as elements of those cultures. The study most salient to this thesis is Paul Willis' (1977)  Learning to Labor: How Working Class  Kids Get Working Class Jobs. In this groundbreaking study, Willis breaks from traditional view of the working class as a deviant off-shoot of the more acceptable middle class stratum and, instead, shows, through lengthy participant-observation research of British white male working class boys and young men, how the conditions and experiences of the public school system shape the boys' views of authority and mainstream expectations of them into attitudes that, more or less, predestine them to perform manual labour that both reinforces their rebellion against 42  the  the status quo and, at the same time, allows them the tools to extract and manipulate aspects of the middle class culture to their advantage.  In fact, Willis'  central question is very similar to the one asked by this thesis: Why do these young males do such meaningless manual jobs (Willis 1977:1)? His explanation is, also, similar to the findings of this research project. It is the "contradictory complex of masculinity and the strange articulations of sexual and labour divisions" (Willis 1977:152) that, in fact, make so-called 'meaningless' jobs extremely meaningful to those who do them. While it might be argued that a study that focuses on a white male British working class culture has little relevance to a Western Canadian carnival, I did locate much evidence supporting the arguments that Willis makes regarding the societal conditions necessary to produce males that seek the kind of manual work that many people would rather avoid. The most useful aspect of Willis' study, however, is his immense contribution to the significance of masculinities in the formation and maintenance of a working class culture. A s I will demonstrate, masculinities in the carnival are a defining feature of the way that work is done, as well as the way that workers perceive their work and their relationships. Two Canadian studies also inform this research project. Ester Reiter's (1992)  Making Fast Food: From the Frying Pan into the Fryer is a  participant-observation  case study of work in a Burger King Restaurant. While Reiter makes an important contribution to the literature on working class jobs, the study lacks a strong focus on the workers (other than Reiter herself) and their personal experiences of working in a fast-food restaurant. Another gap in this study that might have added to working  43  class literature (like Willis' above) is that Reiter does not examine the various ways that workers gain informal control of the work process through humour, language and perhaps even creatively 'playing' with customers . However, the study does 32  offer valuable data on the relentlessness and monotony of many manual labour jobs, as well as the relations of exploitation that underpin the success of many businesses that rely on the manual labour of often disadvantaged workers. The other Canadian case study that has many applications towards this study of the carnival is Thomas Dunk's (1991)  It's a Working Man's Town: Male Working-  Class Culture in Northwestern Ontario.  In his ethnographic study of young  working-class white males in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Dunk chooses as the locale for study such informal settings as a ball game, a bar and other social settings where the group, all friends (including Dunk), interacted. Like Willis (1977), Dunk argues that working-class males deliberately make sense of their world by creating meanings that resist what they perceive to be the dominant culture. The contribution of Dunk's writing to this research project is that he corroborates most of Willis' claims about working class male culture, showing not only the resilience of the culture over time, but also over space: While Willis' study takes place in Great Britain in 1977, Dunk's research was conducted in Canada in the late 1980's. Dunk's work then bridges the necessary geographical and temporal gaps to add validity and currency to Willis' case study.  Although it could be the case, of course, that the intense scrutiny from management under which the workers operate, and the constant threat of being fired for not adhering to the strict company policies, may prevent such informality and 'play'. 32  44  I also refer to Beverley Skeggs' (1997)  Becoming Respectable,  Formations of Class and Gender:  another case study of working class culture, wherein  Skeggs studies a group of British working class women to investigate the intersections of class, gender, femininity and the politics of caring. Her main analytical tool is respectability which contains aspects and assessments (towards both self and other) of these intersections. Willis, Dunk, Skeggs and others equally emphasize the relationship that mediates perceptions that working-class people have of themselves vis-a-vis their perceptions of what constitutes middle class status and respect, and the salience of gender to those constructions. A key finding of the studies conducted by Skeggs, Dunk and Willis is the significance of gender, particularly masculinity, in the working class culture that is informed and created by dynamics of experience and response which are accommodations to the difficult conditions and social relationships of manual work. Masculinity To explore more fully the degree to which masculinities inform working class culture, I looked primarily to the work of Bob Connell, particularly (1987) and  Masculinities (1995), as Connell offers  Gender and Power  the most comprehensive  analysis of both past and current ideas of what it means to be male, the various forms of masculinity, and the profound implications of those forms on the construction and perpetuation of working class cultures. Of the utmost importance in the salience of masculinity to manual work is what Connell refers to as hegemonic masculinity, a term that Connell borrows from Gramsci's analysis of class relations.  45  Rather like Weber's model of ideal types, hegemonic masculinity is a somewhat abstract concept of heterosexual masculinity that is composed of idealized characteristics. However, where Weber points out that rarely, if ever, does an ideal type actually exist, forms of hegemonic masculinity can, in fact, be found, albeit in created or fictionalized forms of heterosexual male cultural heros (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger-type film and television roles; male rock and sports stars). In other words, hegemonic masculinity pre-supposes a particular form of masculinity which many heterosexual men aspire to emulate: a relentless yet ultimately impossible goal for most men to achieve, and especially predominant in the working class culture with its emphasis on the body as the tool for expressiveness in both work and social life. Although much of the carnival research is bound by the ideals of hegemonic masculinity, embodied in the mostly male participants in the carnival culture, most of the women in the carnival are equally affected by, and respond to, the masculinist dynamics.  As Skeggs states, "Femininity becomes the ultimate legitimator of  masculinity....[as] it offers to masculinity the power to impose standards, make evaluations and confirm validity" (Skeggs 1997:112).  I found, not surprisingly, that  none of the women were overtly aware of their role in maintaining or legitimizing a particular form of masculinity amongst the male carnival workers. Nonetheless, it became clear that a particular type of femininity practiced by many of the working class women was clearly constructed in response to the expectations of the males and their attempts to achieve hegemonic masculine success. In other words, working class femininity is constructed around a certain image of the way a woman  46  should be and should act in relation to the men around her. I found this to be particularly pronounced in the carnival culture amongst many of the young female workers for whom the carnival work was quite obviously secondary to the pursuit (or maintenance) of a male carnival worker's affections. Ironically, many of the older, more 'seasoned' female carnival workers themselves also 'did masculinity': they found that survival in the carnival culture was best attained by adopting and adapting many of the masculine characteristics of toughness and superiority. None of the literature on masculinity mentions this very important aspect of gender — that women can, and do, practice both masculinities and femininities — although there is an abundance of discussion on the various types of masculinities, including the variety of homosexual masculinities, many of which do include aspects of femininity. Only Cheng (1996) mentions that "masculinity can be and is performed by women" (Cheng 1996:xiii), and Kanter (1977) also implies that many successful female managers achieve their corporate success through adopting masculine behaviours and practices, although she does not explicitly characterize it as such.  One of the contributions, consequently, of this  research is to add to the sparse literature on the practice of masculinities by women. Chapter Ten shows the various forms of femininities and masculinities performed by female carnival employees that, variously, reinforce their dependence on the male carnival workers or sustain their positions of independence and power within the carnival hierarchy. Another element that I bring in to explain the carnival culture is that of paternalism which fits well with masculinist explanations of power and control, and 47  which also helps to illuminate the symbiotic nature of many of the power relationships.  It was during my early observations of the carnival that I first noticed  that many of the relationships between those in power in the carnival (the 'royalty') and the workers were based on relations of reciprocity which at first appeared to be arbitrary. In fact, before I realized that there was reciprocity involved, I was quite mystified that some workers were selected to receive preferential treatment by the owners. But as I delved deeper into the culture, I realized that one of the key features of the carnival, at all levels and in a multitude of forms, is the unwritten rule that nobody does anything for purely altruistic reasons. I then began to search for a pattern to the ostensible benevolence and concluded that certain employees were deemed to be of particular use to the carnival owners, for a variety of reasons. These employees, then, were treated in ways quite differently than the more expendable workers in terms of receiving perks in the form of clothing or bedding, or even a few precious hours off -- clear evidence of paternalistic relations. In an article entitled  "Intersections of Gender and Class: Accommodation and  Resistance to Working-Class and Affluent Females to Contradictory Sex Role Ideologies",  Jean Anyon (1984) argues that a particular form of femininity practiced  by women that exudes submissiveness and dependence (on men) fits in with the ideology of paternalism. Anyon refers to the work of Eugene Genovese (1974) who uses paternalism to explain the social relations of slavery in the southern United States: Genovese argues that far from seeing themselves as victims, the majority of slaves manipulated the slave-owners to their advantage by performing duties that would ensure better and more humane treatment. Anyon argues that many women  48  also deliberately occupy a submissive role, that involves both accommodation and resistance, in order to survive and, in fact, attain both the protection of men and the reciprocal relations with men to survive in an otherwise unequal relationship (Anyon 1984:31-34). In the carnival, I observed many such relationships, not just between women and men, but between men and other men, and, very occasionally, between women and other women.  In Chapter Six, I more fully examine and explore the  issue of masculinity, placing the analysis within a feminist framework that accommodates the multiplicities of both masculinities and femininities, as well as the intersections between such concepts. Conclusion A strength of this thesis is the contribution it makes towards adding further empirical evidence to theories of work and gender that underscore the salience of masculinity as an organizing element in working class cultures. Moreover, this thesis will help to fill the empty space in social science literature, and social history in general, that exists due to the lack of studies on Canadian carnivals.  (I do need  to acknowledge that there are some European studies of carnivals and also studies on gypsy and traveller communities, but I found that the cultural specificity and uniqueness of carnivals and their traditions rendered most of this literature outside the parameters of this particular research project.) As I point out in Chapter Eleven, carnivals in North America seem to be in a state of transition, as efforts to modernize and legitimize their practices are underway. It may be the case that Sullivan Amusements will also be forced, by economics and monitoring by government authorities, to upgrade its work standards and conditions, thereby 49  relegating many of the practices that currently exist to the past. While they do still exist, therefore, it is crucial to both history and social science that they be recorded and analyzed.  50  Finishing tear-down of a carnival ride in rare daylight conditions  51  Chapter 3 Getting Loked and Setting Up: Methodological Considerations Something I've noticed all along ever since I became associated with the carnival: there is an assumption that you know who everybody is and what their association with the carnival is, i.e. who their boss is, who they associate with personally and everybody's known by their first name and I, of course, who have a hard time remembering names at the best of times, have difficulty making these connections... I am now starting to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. It's almost like being given a giant jigsaw puzzle in bits and you pick up a bit and you know it's connected with another bit but you really don't know where it belongs, like a big old piece of blue sky. Well, I'm starting to fit the pieces together. I'm just watching, observing. The working relationships, the sort of business end of things, these sort of associations, there are all kinds of partnerships and who owns what and then they split and they come and they go and about the only really solidly core group is the Sullivan ride people but even among the ride guys every once in a while they'll just drift off, they'll just go off for a couple of weeks, they'll get pissed off or temporarily fired and go and work for [another carnival]. Anyway I'm starting to put some of the puzzle pieces together. Hopefully by the end of this gig the jigsaw puzzle will be complete (Personal Notes 3-19). Introduction In the previous chapter, I defend my decision for avoiding a rigid theoretical starting point for the research on the grounds that (a) no similar research literature existed that could offer me any relevant paradigmatic frameworks, and that (b) I chose not to limit myself theoretically in order to acquire as much data as possible about the carnival's social life and relations. To further support my choice to enter the field unfettered by pre-determined theory, I offer the following arguments by John Van Maanen, as the choice of whether or not to wade into the research domain girded by theory has clear implications for one's research methodology. Ethnography  In Tales of the Field: On Writing  (1988), Van Maanen begins his chapter entitled "Confessional Tales"  52  with a quotation from Clifford Geertz who endorses the tenet that the ethnographer prioritize the social action initially over and above setting the theoretical boundaries for the research: If you want to understand what a science is you should look in the first instance not at its theories or its findings, and certainly not what its apologists say about it; you should look at what the practitioners of it do (Geertz [book/article source not stated] in Van Maanen 1988:73). From this beginning, Van Maanen works through the dilemma of the ethnographer's presence and subjectivity when conducting research. Initially in the chapter, he argues persuasively that the researcher needs to find the right balance between "introspection and objectification" (Van Maanen 1988:93) in order to avoid what he terms "vanity ethnography" (ibid), whereby the researcher's account is little more than a self-indulgent and narcissistic exercise in telling tales of personal bravado in the field.  He supports his arguments by referring to the dangers inherent in  interpreting data in ways that can leave the ethnographer wide open to criticism from the academy that the account is simply too subjective to have any real scholarly value. There is no question that, if the researcher focuses only on their own reactions to the social environment, the outcome does run the risk of being little more than a journalistic account that is simply unworthy of (and, indeed, entirely incompatible with) the project of advancing knowledge that would be useful for future researchers who might want to replicate the study in some form or another. On the other hand, it is my contention that to aim for complete objectification of one's research subjects and environment automatically and invariably renders the 53  researcher invisible: an equally unethical methodological faux pas. As Van Maanen works his way through his chapter on "Confessional  Tales ' 1  he does eventually arrive at what he deems to be the necessary compromise, or balance, that does involve moving away from a desire for a conventional "objectified" stance . He refers to: 33  ...a minimally acceptable table of contents for an account of fieldwork. Authors must discuss their pre-understandings of the studied scene as well as their own interests on that scene; their modes of entry, sustained participation or presence, and exit procedures; the responses of others on the scene to their presence (and vice versa); the nature of their relationship with various categories of informants; and their modes of data collection, storage, retrieval, and analysis (Van Maanen 1988:93-94). I can claim that I followed Van Maanen's "table of contents"; in addition, however, I did include what he might criticize as an "outward-bound, lone-wolf, muddy-boots image" (Van Maanen 1988:74). To present myself in any other form would have been dishonest: indeed, I was outward bound, very often a lone wolf, and wore decidedly muddy boots almost every day/night. Van Maanen's main point, as I understand it, is that a degree of subjectivity in the form of the researcher allowing themselves to be as much the researched as the researcher, is allowable. But beyond that, the researcher risks falling into the trap of becoming a selfabsorbed non-fiction writer.  On this last point, I strongly disagree with Van Maanen.  It was not only necessary that I record my own feelings, experiences and self-  lt is often difficult to follow Van Maanen's arguments — the humorous style he uses can often be mistaken for sarcasm. His meandering style, in fact, falls prey to some of the very pitfalls he himself points out in some ethnographies: a very interesting read with often inconclusive results. 33  54  reflections as both researcher and worker. It was, I would argue, vital to the research project itself. Had I been conducting the research from the comfort of a fifth-wheel trailer, or commuting back and forth between the carnival site and a warm and dry hotel, then it might not have been as necessary for me to include my own experiences. But I lived as a carnival worker (not a member of the "royalty") and, as such, I was more than an observer of the carnival experience --1 shared precisely the same experiences within the carnival setting as the other workers. The only activities that I chose not to engage in were the nightly consumption of large amounts of beer and drugs, and the high degree of sexual activity.  I made those  decisions not on moral grounds, but because I rarely overindulge in alcohol, avoid all drugs and do not engage in casual sexual relations for health reasons. Secondly, I knew that in order to stay healthy while living and working in such conditions, it was paramount that I maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible. As I have shown above, the reasons behind my selected research methodology were largely based on keeping myself (as both researcher and researched) and my subjects very much alive. I also made the choice based on the people that I was researching: people living on the margins who had been for the most part ignored by the academic world. Methodological Concerns: Kirby and McKenna (1989) present a convincing argument for researching people and social situations in the margins, meaning groups of people and social locations that are largely ignored by the academic community and status quo society in general. They suggest that usually interest in such groups arises out of "a 55  concern that is rooted in experience" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:44). It was my experience of working in the carnival that gave rise to my research interest.  My interest developed not because of a romanticized delight in  'discovering' such an admittedly fascinating and complex social domain, but it arose out of a sense of moral outrage at the conditions to which the workers were subjected, and how the workers were able to sustain the level of labour that they did under such conditions. Lest my declaration of anger be criticized as unscholarly, it is necessary to point out that Kirby and McKenna posit that: A sense of outrage and anger can be enabling in doing research. While status quo researchers may describe the social world as an interesting thing to study, people on the margins often have a compelling need to do research because they find the status quo so outrageous, inequitable and unsatisfying (Kirby and McKenna 1989:35). My mystified anger at these conditions falls under the category of conceptual baggage, which is "the record of the experience and reflections of the researcher that relate to the focus of the research" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:49).  Conceptual  baggage consists of thoughts, therefore, that inform the research question but also the recurring thinking and "emotional comments" that happen to the researcher while he/she is conducting the research (Kirby and McKenna 1989:49), which serve the purpose of 'intellectualizing' the data as one comes across it.  Kirby and  McKenna argue that this conceptual baggage must be included in the research data as it is a way to keep "your own experience and process observable and accounted for in the investigation" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:51). A significant part of the researcher's conceptual baggage is his or her personal background. Kirby and McKenna urge the researcher to "not be afraid to  56  incorporate yourself, your emotions and your experience into the research process" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:123). As an integral part of an ethnographic research project from the margins is the inclusion of the researcher as a live, active and activating member of the entire process, it is important that I provide some autobiographic details. And as I was also a worker in the carnival, these personal facts have a bearing on how I perceived the carnival culture and, equally, how the members of the carnival culture evaluated me. I am a divorced white heterosexual female with two sons, and was fortyseven years old at the time of the research. My family background can be characterized as middle-class: my parents are British and university-educated. As I noted in Chapter One, I worked as a secretary for nearly twenty years in a variety of working- and middle-class businesses, and travelled extensively in Europe, Britain and North America. I have always had a strong respect for what I perceived as the honesty and the common-sense of the working-class, especially in terms of the way that life's difficulties are understood. In fact, I still consider myself to be workingclass. I deliberately rejected my family's middle-class elitism, as I saw it, at an early age. In my mid-thirties, post-divorce, I went to university (out of economic necessity, not wanting to raise two children alone on a secretary's wages), and surprised myself by succeeding to the extent that I was encouraged by university faculty to do graduate degrees. This rather varied past has served me well in my university work, and I found it very easy to slip into the parlance and culture of the carnival. Much of the carnival culture is no different than the culture of, for example, a working-class bar or other social meeting place. I know how to banter and come up with the "one-  57  liner" responses, and I am not shocked by male flirtatious behaviour. I rarely needed to express any anger when flirtatious behaviour went beyond my limits of acceptability. There were only three occasions where my personal boundaries were crossed, and I dealt with it as I would in any such situation, by asserting my feelings, and demanding (and receiving) an apology. My background of an unsuccessful (and abusive) marriage left me with a profound understanding of the effects of domestic violence; having two children has made me privy to the pains and the joys of child-rearing.  Economically forced to  spend a year living on Social Assistance after my marriage ended, I also have experienced profound poverty and all the emotional stresses attached thereto.  All  of these factors were key to my being able to understand the words, emotions and behaviours of many of the carnival participants, especially many of the female workers.  In sum, my ability to understand the workers, and the outrage at the  inequities that I felt when I first observed the carnival workers and, later, several times during my time with the carnival, are rooted in my own experiences of feeling marginalized, devalued and, occasionally, exploited by those in positions of power. The carnival presents a unique and challenging task for the social scientist who wants to do it the honest and sociological justice that it well deserves. The immediate problem presented to me, as the researcher, was that I chose the challenging task of investigating heretofore largely unexplored social territory.  It  would probably be fair to say that there are very few social domains in the Western world that have not been the object/subject of sociological scrutiny in one form or another over the past few decades. Sociologists frequently choose a subject that  58  has already been examined by others: a major objective of these studies, then, is to refute or validate prior explanations for the inhabitants' behaviour. There is some practical merit in this. The social scientist can begin with someone else's map, as it were, and follow the directions, or the maze, to find out if they, too, end up at the same theoretical finishing point, or if they are able to provide refuting evidence and, therefore, alternative pathways, to that finishing post. As I explain in Chapter Two, I had no such map, flawed or otherwise, to follow or transgress, other than the very brief, largely descriptive, and 'instructionfree' literature written over twenty-five years ago by Bryant (1972) and Easto and Truzzi (1973) that certainly urged the sociologist to investigate the carnival culture, but offered no strong theoretical arguments to guide one in such an endeavour. It was, consequently, very much like deciding to visit a country without a map in terms of the foci of the research: I knew what I wanted to do in a large and generalized sense — to explore the social and economic relations of the carnival. But beyond that, I had no clear ideas, primarily because I did not know, at the beginning, exactly what patterns would emerge. Loosely, I intended to conduct the research in a methodological manner similar to that done by Ester Reiter (1991) in Making Fast Food: From the Frying Pan Into the Fryer.  In this study, Reiter investigated, as a worker-  participant/observer, the everyday experiences of working in a Burger King fast-food restaurant. In her introduction, Reiter claims that: Theories about what happens at work and why workers behave as they do have, until very recently, treated the worker as a uniform creature of no particular gender or race. However, it was assumed that this ungendered, 59  raceless worker was really an adult white male, settled in a factory where he could expect to remain for long stretches of time with some job security, and where, if lucky, he would move up the ladder a few rungs (Reiter 1991:4-5; see also Livingstone and Mangan 1996:9). Given that carnival workers are both male and female, and are engaged in highly unsettled and mobile work with little job security and few opportunities for advancement, it quickly became doubtful to me that much of the conventional labour theory would be applicable. This research project clearly was, to borrow from Kirby and McKenna (1989), research from the margins, in every possible sense of the phrase. I was researching a very marginalized social community, with equally marginalized people occupying it . And I, myself, was somewhat marginalized within that community. It 34  is important to point out, though, that my marginalized condition within the carnival culture was a very deliberate placement on my part: most of the carnival workers saw me as a carnival worker first and a sociologist second. Because the carnival is an area that has had little sociological scrutiny, it was important that I establish, as much as possible, a high degree of "ethnographic adequacy" (Stoddart 1986:105) to the research project, in order to make the thesis scientifically acceptable to the academic community. As I strongly believe that the importance of ethnographic adequacy cannot be overstated, I will itemize the properties of adequacy that Stoddart (1986:105) suggests as key criteria towards establishing such adequacy, and offer evidence of my commitment to those rules:  l also had several personal experiences with members of the outside (mainstream) communities who saw me only as a carny, treating me with disrespect, which I explain in Chapter Six. 34  60  1.  An adequate ethnography describes the milieu being explored in its distinctive form outside the ethnographer's presence. In Chapter Four, I describe, in detail, the physical details of the carnival upon which this research is based. Because I first entered the carnival solely as a worker and remained at that status for the first four months, my presence in the carnival continued to be seen as primarily a worker.  I did, however, jot down  observed data unobtrusively during this pre-research period which arose mostly from my own 'conceptual baggage' (Kirby and McKenna 1989:21). I also asked many questions in order to try to understand some of the confusing behaviour that I observed, but this would be a normal practice of any neophyte worker in a new job. 2.  Adequacy is also attained by describing the milieu as its occupants perceive it, thereby avoiding ethnocentrism. I accomplish this by clearly distinguishing, in my findings, between my voice as observer/participant/analyst, and the voices of the people with whom I spoke. A s much as possible, I use their words, rather than paraphrase and run the risk of invoking my own voice (and life experiences). Often, the words of the participants, in fact, convey the feeling of the carnival much better, and much more honestly and adequately, than any words or phrases that I might use, especially if those words were converted into the sociological jargon common to many research projects that may, indeed, accrue academic 'brownie' points to the researcher, but do a vast disservice to the original speakers, not to mention the inevitable elitism that accompanies such language. A s well, because I conducted the research 61  with a very broad research question — How and why do people work in these kinds of difficult and demanding jobs? — I was not actively searching out only particular data that could support a pre-existing hypothesis. I had no concrete answer to the question until after I emerged from the domain and was able to fully reflect on the culture. 3.  Adequacy is also established by the researcher not modifying the milieu in any way by the method that data is gathered. Despite the carnival being an extremely difficult domain in which to gather data, I was very committed to modifying my techniques according to the situation at hand, rather than forcing changes in the milieu for my convenience . It was almost impossible 35  to follow the conventional interview method of setting up times and locations in advance, as carnival workers were expected to be available for work at all times. Rather than trying to force or coerce people into concrete interview commitments ahead of time, I chose to carry with me, at all times, all my interview paraphernalia (permission and consent letters, tapes, and tape  My first attempt at an interview was a disaster which, fortunately, I managed to turn into a learning experience: I selected a young female with whom I had worked in the ticket box earlier in the season and who was now a "floss chick" (worked in a candyfloss joint). She was always very outgoing and chatty when we worked together, so I assumed she would readily consent to be my first "interviewee". She adamantly refused, looking horrified, and strode away. I waited another day and then decided to approach her and ask her why she declined to be interviewed as I felt the information might help me in subsequent attempts at interviews. She told me that it was the word "interview" that terrified her: her only previous experiences with interviews had been with social workers and (unsuccessful) attempts to find work. I stored this information away and used it for my next intended subject. Instead of asking if I could "interview" him, I asked him if he would agree to talk to me about his experiences in the carnival, to which he readily agreed. I basically continued this method of approach for the next few weeks until word got around the carnival that these "talks" were a really positive experience for the subjects. In fact, many carnival workers approached me asking to be interviewed about one month into the research. 35  62  recorder) so that I was always prepared to conduct interviews at the convenience of the participants. Similarly, the interview locations were mostly far from ideal: no cosy, quiet, warm offices were available in the carnival, so interviews were conducted in a variety of locations — beside my tent, in the ticket box, in bars, in coffee shops, in the cabs of semi-trailer trucks, in the Pie Car and even at the very work-place of the participant. Occasionally, a 36  single interview was conducted over several days, in deference to the participant's work and life demands. Stoddart also cautions the ethnographer to be aware of the chance "that techniques of gathering data may create data gathered" (1986:106). In  The Pie Car was a converted truck trailer that served as a bar, restaurant, place for gambling (poker games attended only by select carnival royalty males, and Video Lottery Terminals) and general socializing, for carnival workers only. The Pie Car also sold condoms and cigarettes (at 50 cents apiece for the latter; I never bought any of the former!). The inside walls were covered in jokes and notices from the bosses that nobody paid any attention to. There was a blackboard that announced the day's "food specials" (always the same menu -- it never changed in the eight months I was with the show), and the next day's lot call time. Totally unrecognizable by anybody other than the carnival cognoscenti, it was always tucked away deep inside the conglomeration of carnival trucks at a lot, completely undetectable by the general public (and authorities). Totally illegal, it held no liquor, food or gambling licences. I learned that it was a vestige of the old carnival structure and that, originally, Pie Cars were just that: places that sold pies to carnies. Pie Cars are now largely a thing of the past in most American carnivals (according to the Lot Superintendent at the North Dakota carnival). The Pie Car at Sullivan Amusements, owned by Fred and Christine, stayed open as late as Fred and Christine chose, selling beer at two for $5, and a very limited (and highly unsanitary) menu of food. Many of the veteran carnival workers warned me never to eat in the Pie Car as trips to local hospitals with food poisoning were frequent after partaking of their food. The royalty were allowed to drink liquor there any time they wished, but carnival workers could only drink when the show was closed. It is intriguing that none of the older carnival research literature (e.g. Easto and Truzzi 1973) mentions a Pie Car, although many long-time carnival workers at Sullivan Amusements as well as the North Dakota Lot Superintendent told me that they were a fixture in carnivals for decades, going back to the late 19 century. My reading of this absence in the literature is that it may indicate that the researchers did not (or were not permitted to) delve as deeply into the carnival culture as I was privileged to do. 36  th  63  some circumstances, this was indeed the case. I will provide two examples and explain what I did to accommodate it. I took many photographs during my eight months with the carnival. It was almost impossible to take the photographs unobserved and, in fact, I preferred to be observed by the people being photographed for ethical reasons. Occasionally, participants would yell "Don't take my picture!" I would dutifully comply, and apologize for any offence that I might have caused them. In addition, many of the photographs were of the workers doing their work. One of the elements of protest masculinity is the pride that the practitioners have in the physical element of their manual work. Most of the carnival workers loved to be photographed and, many times, as I roamed around the lot during the workday (on one of my breaks), or during teardown or setup, the workers would call to me to photograph them. Although one could say that these were far from candid photographs, I would instead argue that they are pictorial records of masculinity 'in action' — the preening and flexing of their bodies, the clear and obvious pride on their faces as they lugged about heavy pieces of equipment, are examples of that pride, an inherent part of protest masculinity. The second example concerns my tape recording of data. I never hid my tape recording, at any time, for the practical reason that it was nearly impossible to do so. Also, if I wanted — and I did — to record observations as I saw them, rather than in recollections later, it was necessary that I stroll around and chatter into the recorder as I walked. I cannot state with any certainty that this did not influence the way the participants behaved, but 64  because I was so totally accepted by the workers in the carnival, it was not long into the research (about two weeks) that people either ignored the tape recorder 'glued' to my mouth, or, in fact, voluntarily became actively involved in it, yelling at me and engaging me in conversations as I walked around. Again, I would argue that this is further evidence of the workers' need to be heard and their thirst for recognition and respect. Occasionally, a worker would ask, with curiosity, "What are you saying into that thing?" Instead of muttering something about the confidentiality of the research data, I would always cheerfully play back a few minutes of what I had just recorded, in order to ensure the continued good rapport and trust that I had with the participants. As already mentioned, trust is a very important criterion for acceptance in the carnival, and the trust that was given to me, and by me to others, not only came out of my status as a carnival worker but equally as my more marginal status as researcher. I therefore hid nothing from the participants, other than the whispered 'conceptual baggage' or more sensitive, often 'dirty', data  37  that I observed or was told about, that I would  enter into the recorder, usually late at night in my tent after my shift finished,  W h e n I was transcribing my data, these transmissions often came across as truly strange: Because my tent was often pitched amongst other carnival workers who were mainly in motorhomes or 5 wheels, but occasionally in small tents, and also because many of the carnival workers passed by my tent, I would enter anything of a slightly sensitive nature into the recorder with a sotto voce whisper, which somehow made the more 'sinister' aspects of the carnival even more pronounced and gave them a very 'unsociological' aura of intrigue. Sometimes I would enter this data in the pitch-dark standing behind the joint-line with the same voice, and I recall feeling acutely frightened at the risk that someone was listening to me, especially when the rumours were abounding that I was an undercover police officer, which was another important reason why I did not hide the majority of my oral or photographic data collection. 37  th  65  or the data that I entered when I was on my own in the ticket box and during the jumps, when driving in my car, or when I spent the occasional day and night away from the carnival altogether (also on jumps). 4.  Adequate ethnography is attained through gathering data from participants cognizant of the domain being researched. Every subject whom I interviewed, and observed, was a fully participating carnival worker , whose 38  length of stay in the carnival ranged from a few weeks, to over forty years. This "differential distribution of competence" (Stoddart 1986:106) provided data that contained a variety of perceptions given by the workers, a critical dimension given that longevity within the carnival had a pronounced effect on the acceptance of, and by, the carnival culture on its members. It was very useful, therefore, to hear the often outraged opinions of carnival novices to their new 'home' and work environment, in stark contrast with those who had come to see the carnival culture and its unique unwritten rules of behaviour as somehow natural and unquestionable. Therefore, although the participants ranged enormously in their length of time in the carnival, rather than viewing this as a degree of competence (e.g. knowledge of the culture), I consider it rather to be a range in cultural immersion, and often those (like myself) who were relatively new to the culture were able to point out aspects that the more seasoned 'lifers' were now immune to or were no longer  The only exception to this was a man who had worked for Sullivan Amusements the year previous to my research, whom I befriended and who accompanied me when I spent a day at a large American carnival in North Dakota. 38  66  consciously aware of. Another criterion of adequate ethnography is the presence of the researcher (Stoddart 1986:107) and the degree to which the ethnographer may or not have tainted the participants' behaviour and/or the research milieu in general. Stoddart offers six methods by which the ethnographer seeks some form of invisibility, and I employed all but the last — misrepresentation — in my research techniques (Stoddart 1986:109-112). Again, as I wish to establish myself as an adequate ethnographer to the academic community, I will outline Stoddart's variations and offer evidence to support my claims. 1.  Disattending: erosion of visibility by time. This refers to the researcher becoming so familiar to the participants that he/she comes to be seen as no different that anyone else in the cultural domain. As previously mentioned, I began by being strictly a carnival worker, and was fully accepted by the other carnival workers in that role. Because of the unwritten carnival rule that people are judged on the way that they behave in the carnival, and no inquiries, formal or otherwise, are made into workers' backgrounds, the fact that I was a graduate student in sociology at the University of British Columbia did not arise. Although I certainly looked different from most of the workers, their acceptance of me was based on my ability to interact with them with humour and respect. I therefore had a distinct advantage in terms of disattendance. Even after my time with the carnival turned into primarily (for me) a research project, I continued to be seen as a worker first and foremost. I did have fears that the workers might treat me differently after they  67  discovered my 'other life', but I was able to explain to people individually what I was doing, in language that I knew they would understand . As the carnival 39  owners had not passed on to the workers, including the other administrative people and foremen, that I was continuing with the carnival in order to conduct research, my re-arrival at the carnival was simply accepted as a normal occurrence, as workers frequently move in and out of the carnival, especially in the first few months of the season. 2.  Disattending: erosion of visibility by display of no symbolic detachment. As mentioned in 1. above, I never even attempted any form of symbolic detachment, mainly because it would have been impossible under the circumstances of my ticket-selling work and the living arrangements. I made no attempt to hide what I was doing as a researcher, as to do otherwise would have certainly raised suspicions, destroyed the very important element of trust that I had managed to build, and would have sabotaged the entire research project.  I soon shed my appearance of looking different, mainly  because within a short time of travelling with the carnival, I was living and  Lest this be taken as an elitist declaration, I wish to clarify that speaking to someone with no experience with or knowledge of the academic world means using words and phrases common to their own knowledge base. This does not mean that one has to "talk down"; it means that one needs to respect that a difference exists. For example, the first time I was seen chattering into my tape recorder while sitting in the ticket box, a couple of the ride guys, who already knew me well, strolled over and asked what I was doing, out of sheer curiosity. I explained that I was a researcher from U.B.C. conducting research on the carnival. When they asked exactly what I was researching, I replied that I was interested in the whole carnival. I did not launch into sociological jargon about social inequality and work-related cultures. Satisfied with my answer, they reacted with great joy and appreciation that someone finally was paying attention to the carnival and the workers. For the most part, this was the reaction of all the workers. 39  68  working under the s a m e difficult conditions a s the other workers were (with the exception of the 'royalty' w h o lived in 5 w h e e l trailers a n d m o t o r h o m e s th  with every m o d e r n c o n v e n i e n c e ) which were characterized by no immediately a c c e s s i b l e toilets or s h o w e r s , ever-present dirt, a n d s h e e r exhaustion from the long hours. T h e act of sharing all of these e x p e r i e n c e s a n d , i n d e e d , tolerating 3.  40  them a s the others did reinforced my m e m b e r s h i p in the group.  Disattending: erosion of visibility by display of s y m b o l i c attachment.  Because  of the high d e g r e e of m e m b e r s h i p that I already held with the carnival culture, I had to d o very little to deliberately s h o w my attachment. E v e n the l a n g u a g e of the carnival workers did not present m e with difficulties or force m e into a pretense of any kind. M y m a n y y e a r s of ' m e m b e r s h i p ' in working c l a s s culture have provided m e with verbal a n d interactional skills a n d familiarity that allowed m e to easily fit in with the carnival workers, w h o s p e a k no differently than most other 'unskilled' labourers, other than using s o m e words or p h r a s e s that are unique to the carnival culture. But by the time I w a s e n g a g e d in the r e s e a r c h project, I w a s already familiar with the carnival language, s o this also presented no difficulty to m e . 4.  Disattending: erosion of visibility by personalizing the ethnographer-informant  W h e n I first re-joined the carnival to travel with it in July, I had a conversation with one of the wives of the 'independents' during which I explained that I was conducting sociological research and living in a small tent. She roared with laughter and said "You won't last long. You won't be able to take it. You university types are too soft for this kind of life". I replied that there was much more to me than simply a 'university type'. Towards the end of the season, three months later, she apologized for describing me as too weak to tolerate the carnival life, and told me how impressed she was at my tenacity. 40  69  relationship. By the time the formal stage of the research had begun, I had already established many friendships with carnival workers. And as a fullyaccepted and fully-functioning member of the carnival workforce, I shared almost all aspects of the carnival with the other workers. Thus, for example, when I asked questions about their opinions on the living and working conditions of the carnival, I was able to offer my own opinions as well, after eliciting theirs. We all shared the same long hours, bad weather, and lack of showers and toilets. As well, many of the carnivals workers had children that were living with ex-partners or parents in their home towns and many of them voiced their sadness at not seeing their children. As I also have two children whom I did not see for several months, I was able to express my empathy. Finally, the other carnival workers saw me most mornings trudging in shorts and gumboots, as filthy and weary as they, to the often-distant showers in a cowbarn, which also served to personalize and, consequently, to disattend my role as researcher . 41  5.  Misrepresentation: masking the real research interests. My real research concerned the perceptions of the carnival workers to their work. To some degree, I camouflaged, rather than misrepresented, the real research interests. Whenever I was asked what exactly I was interested in, I would  Another aid to my disattendance as researcher was a large scar that I have on my upper arm (from surgical removal of melanoma), which received many admiring glances from the carnies (both male and female). A male carny pointed to my scar early in the research and said "Shank, huh!". He looked most disappointed when I told him it was a surgical scar, and not a souvenir of an heroic experience of being shanked (stabbed). 4l  70  always respond that I was simply researching the carnival in its entirety. If I was asked why, I would respond that I thought it was a fascinating place and worthy of being researched. I felt that if I was too precise, this knowledge might in fact have an effect on the way they conducted their work. I did attempt to give 'equal time' to all aspects of the carnival as, of course, a guiding principle of my research methodology was the inclusiveness of all areas of activity and behaviour. 6.  Misrepresentation: masking identity as ethnographer. As previously mentioned, I never hid my identity as a researcher from anyone that I encountered during my time with the carnival. In fact, in one location, a television reporter began asking me questions about my work as a ticket seller and I included in my response that I was conducting research on the carnival. This subsequently developed into a five-minute segment on the C B C National News. Two other criteria for ethnographic adequacy are suggested by Stoddart and  concern the problems of methodogenesis and ethnocentrism (Stoddart 1986:113117).  Regarding methodogenesis, Stoddart cautions the researcher to utilize  research methods that do not accidently create the characteristics of a social milieu, instead of explaining or describing such elements. Stoddart mentions three techniques that can assist the researcher in avoiding this unethical (and, ultimately, dishonest) practice: neutralizing the techniques, which means minimizing the number of directed questions asked of subjects; invisibilizing the techniques, i.e. eliminating altogether any direct questions and relying solely on volunteered  information; and redundant demonstrations, which refers to gathering opinions on a single matter from a variety of participants, the argument being that if a sufficient number of people repeat the same or similar ideas, this increases the validity of the information (Stoddart 1986:116-117). In my interviews with the carnival workers, the only direct questions that I asked were concerned with demographic data (e.g. What is your birthdate? Where were you born?). The other questions, which were designed to access the participants' opinions on the more general aspects of the carnival culture, were much broader, to avoid creating possibly artificial or contrived responses.  It was also the case, however, that some of the questions covered  areas that many of the subjects had never reflected on. This could, possibly, be construed as evidence of the very data that Stoddart cautions against. However, it is my contention that as long as the questions are worded in an open-ended fashion, the subject is free to respond in any way that he or she sees fit, thereby avoiding any artificiality. Again, I would argue that the trust and affection which most of the carnival workers held for me aided tremendously in their being able or willing to answer such heretofore unasked questions honestly. The personal interviews also frequently went off on tangents that I encouraged, as it was these conversational meanderings which often produced the most fruitful and insightful data from the subjects. Concerning the problem of ethnocentrism, Stoddart identifies the need to represent the social milieu from the perspective of the subjects, which can be attained by testing one's portrayal against that of the participants, to establish ethnographic adequacy (Stoddart 1986:113-114).  72  Again, as a fellow carnival  worker, I experienced much the same conditions as the rest of the workers and, therefore, had my own opinions about particular aspects. By talking to other carnival workers and asking their opinions or comments on such aspects, I was able to 'double-check' my own perceptions as well as reinforce those perceptions. Stoddart also suggests the use of "native as talent judge" (Stoddart 1986:115), which refers to the researcher asking a subject for useful information on how to behave or dress in order to fit into the milieu. I developed several close friendships with carnival workers and frequently consulted them on behaviours or elements that I did not understand or did not mesh with my conceptual baggage. I needed this information not only for research clarity, but also to continue to survive in the carnival and not commit any unwitting behavioral faux pas. Having ensured that I met all of Stoddart's suggestions for adequate ethnography, as detailed above, I feel confident that the data, and the interpretation thereof, are as valid and honest to the domain as possible. It is my strong contention that my unique position in the carnival — being seen as a worker first and a researcher second — lends immense validity to my findings, and the lucidity of the valuable knowledge given to me by the carnival worker participants. Methodology: My methodology was based on the need to find the right balance between organizing the research process so that it would provide a comprehensive and usable store of data, and keeping the process loose enough that it could capture as much of the various elements as possible, without distortion or over-selection. To accomplish this, I used a variety of methods, all of which Kirby and McKenna 73  recommend for a research project that examines groups from the margins and has the goal of accessing the relations of ruling that underscore an oppressed social group (Kirby and McKenna 1989:65). To collect nearly all the data, I used a handheld tape recorder: the end result was 46 90-minute tapes. I started by writing down my observations in a notebook, but I quickly abandoned the book for practical reasons. It was often very dark or raining, and I needed to be able to record information immediately, while it was still fresh in my memory or as a significant event was occurring. I also found that the tape recorder was more accessible: when I was on the jumps, I usually chose this as a time for reflection on the previous carnival spot and would unload my conceptual baggage into the recorder as I drove. (It was also an excellent way to try to stay awake, an often arduous task after working for fourteen hours and then having to drive several hundred miles to the next carnival spot.) I created a set of interview questions (Appendix C), with some assistance from my thesis supervisor, Dr. Gillian Creese, that were designed to capture some key demographic data (age, ethnicity, sex, education, work experience), as well as questions that framed my inquiries into the carnival participants' perceptions of and experiences with the carnival work and life. For the most part, I did not modify these questions in any way, but I did find that one question in particular very quickly became problematic. The question was "What kind of work does or did your father/mother do?" This may appear to be a relatively straight-forward question to be asking in an interview, but there is an underlying assumption that the interview subject has one set of parents and that they are the subject's biological parents. A 74  very frequent o c c u r r e n c e during the interviews w a s that this question resulted in, occasionally, up to an hour-long explanation of family b a c k g r o u n d that w a s c o m p l e x , s a d a n d volatile. F o r most of the carnival workers, the only relatively stable parent in their lives w a s their mother. S o m e never k n e w their biological fathers at all, while m a n y recited a list of various m a l e partners that m o v e d in a n d out of their mothers' lives, leaving behind other children a n d m a s s i v e a m o u n t s of p e r s o n a l heartbreak for all the family m e m b e r s . S e v e r a l of the workers w e r e raised in foster h o m e s or by grandparents, a n d for the majority of t h e m , drugs, alcohol a n d physical violence were significant factors in the disintegration of the serial quasi-parental relationships. A n o t h e r question from which o n e might expect a relatively succinct a n d immediate r e s p o n s e w a s : W h a t kind of work d o you expect to be doing five y e a r s from n o w ? M o s t of my interview subjects reacted to this question with p u z z l e m e n t quickly followed by "I don't know. I've never really thought about that." I always left the question hanging, a s it were, thereby giving them the option to self-reflectively e x a m i n e what their plans for the future might be. M a n y had no a n s w e r whatsoever, while others eventually r e s p o n d e d , after m u c h thought, with what they would like to be doing in five y e a r s (typical replies w e r e social worker or probation officer) but with the a d d e d disclaimer that it would never h a p p e n anyway.  In s u m , then, I found that  questions that a p p e a r e d to be quite straight-forward provided information to m e that helped m e to understand the respondents' subjective understandings of their personal worlds, past, present a n d future, the last which they had rarely ever contemplated, which I found to be a significant factor in their rationales for the  75  difficult carnival work and conditions. Just as Stoddart (1986) makes practical suggestions for the attainment of ethnographic adequacy by grappling with the issue of the 'objective researcher', so do Kirby and McKenna offer some optimum conditions for "quality interviewing" (1989:67) with a focus on the need for an equal relationship between the persons involved in the interview setting. Their suggestions include an ambience of informality and spontaneity to allow "space so the input of the research participants can help guide and shape the research interaction" (Kirby and McKenna 1989:67). Due to already well-established rapport and friendships with the carnival workers, I found that by about the third interview, I rarely had to consult my interview question sheet, and would largely allow the subject to speak freely in any direction that they wished to go. Participant-observation was also used. I recorded my own perceptions as a worker, as well as observations that I made of the other workers. I often simply left my tape recorder on when several of us were in conversation (with the permission of those present) and was able to record some of the humour and sense-making that helped to sustain the carnival workers . 42  A highly amusing experience that I had with a particular ride guy was his penchant for "talking to Gillian [Creese, my thesis supervisor]". This evolved out of an early conversation that I had with him when he asked who, besides me, would hear my taperecordings. I replied "Nobody, with the possible exception of Gillian, my supervisor." From that point onwards, he often came over to my ticket box and talked into my tape recorder, with messages for Gillian, such as the following "Hi, Mrs. Professor! Hi, Gillian! Welcome to the carnival, where the party never stops" (2-13); "Gillian! You know what? Of all the places that I've gone before with this carnival, I've never seen such a beautiful angel fly so low!" (2-18); and "Gillian!! My favourite professor! I wanna come to your university actually and meet you and see how beautiful you are! Gillian! That name reminds me of a crescent wrench. It really turns my nuts! [howling with laughter]" (2-18). 42  76  With regard to the type of data that I recorded — aside from the interviews — it would be accurate to claim that I recorded a very wide range of information. A s I spent longer and longer with the carnival, I began to notice repeated behaviours or behaviour patterns, and I noted that these were, therefore, a key practice. Conversely, I recorded anomalous incidents, which were either situations that appeared to be out of character for the practitioner(s) or did not fit in with previously noted behaviours. I would always add in my initial analysis of these scenarios, and would often later add further thoughts that would occur to me on the jumps. I used extensive descriptions. When I transcribed the tapes, I also included my tone of voice which would indicate, variously, exhaustion, annoyance, amazement, levity, or fear. An example of this is when I first learned about the beatings that occurred regularly in the carnival. I attempted to remain "sociological" by framing them in a wider context of theories of power and control, but I also did not refrain from entering my own personal reaction of horror and fear, and my instinct to run as far away as I could from the situation. Therefore, I was able to recognize my own feelings of fear of violence (residual from my own experiences with it in my marriage) and sheer revulsion of violence as retribution. The parameters, then, for the collection of oral data were very wide. I looked in particular at the ways that the people did their work, how they reacted to their difficult labour tasks, and what the conditions were that enveloped their work projects (e.g. lack of light, pouring rain, very cold or very hot temperatures). I similarly noted my own reactions to these conditions (e.g. what it felt like to have to feel in the cold mud for a power cord, or crawl underneath a ride in the pitch dark, at  77  the beginning of teardown, in order to d i s c o n n e c t it from the generator: a combination of bravado and disgust!). T h e e n d result w a s a vast amount of d a t a , m u c h of it recorded in a s t r e a m - o f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s format that w a s a combination of sociological jargon a n d 'worker talk', the former which usually flowed out of the latter. A n o t h e r s o u r c e of r e s e a r c h data w a s various forms a n d letters that I obtained from the carnival administrators. T h e y volunteered to give m e photocopies of contracts that the Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s had with various fair b o a r d s  43  that s h o w  how the b u s i n e s s arrangements are m a d e for the carnival to play at functions like r o d e o s a n d country fairs. I a l s o photographed s e v e r a l p o e m s that were written by a carnival worker and which adorned the walls of the pie car. I kept other written m e m o r a n d a s u c h a s a missive that apparently is put out every s e a s o n (and which is equally routinely ignored) to remind workers to k e e p t h e m s e l v e s looking neat a n d presentable, a n d ticket box signs indicating s p e c i a l ticket events (e.g. Family D a y where all children under 12 y e a r s of a g e m a y ride the rides for only two tickets instead of four). In s u m m a r y , the methodology u s e d w a s participant-observation a s well a s loosely structured, informal p e r s o n a l interviews. Having already worked for Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s , I w a s familiar with the general social a n d e c o n o m i c structure of the d o m a i n a n d had d e v e l o p e d friendships a n d overall good rapport with the owners a n d the workers. I had the a d v a n t a g e , therefore, of having b e e n fully a c c e p t e d into  See glossary for definition.  78  the carnival culture as a worker first and foremost, with the result that my status as academic researcher was effectively disattended (Stoddart 1986:109). The owners and workers were aware of my status as a researcher, readily supplied a letter of consent and demonstrated a willingness to fully co-operate with me. 44  The research data consisted of informal written personal notes that I recorded during the pre-research period (March - May 1996), audio tapes that contained interviews and personal observation data for the period of July - October 1996 (and a few further interviews conducted in Vancouver with carnival workers from November 1996 to January 1997), and various documents and memoranda from the carnival. I also took many photographs of the carnival workers and sites, always with the permission of the subjects therein (with one accidental exception, explained in Chapter Eight). The issue of objectivity in the research, and its subsequent evaluation, was largely resolved by including my own experiences as a carnival worker, as I mention at the beginning of this chapter. A s Acker et al. (1991:140) point out, the purpose of objectivity is to attempt to eliminate any bias that might result from the researcher's subjectivity. The quest for objectivity, however, can result in the complete detachment of the observer, or interviewer, from his or her objects of inquiry. This abstraction can render the subject to a category of "other who cannot reflect back on and affect the knower" (Acker et al. 1991:140). I used my position as researcher in the interviewing process actively, occasionally to paraphrase and clarify with the  ln Chapter Four, I discuss an ethical dilemma that arose upon my discovery that the consent letter signature was, in fact, signed with a forged signature! 44  79  subjects some areas of knowledge. But, in fact, because of the vast amount of shared knowledge and experience, the need to erase any ambiguity was rare. Instead, the interviews could be characterized more accurately as conversations between friends, reaching a level of intimacy and candidness that enriched the datagathering and produced valuable and profound explanations of the myriad of carnival experiences. Finally, there are three significant points that I need to make in order to shed light on my particular standpoint in researching the carnival and, consequently, the data that I recorded. The first point is that, as a female, I had a distinct advantage in terms of being accepted by the (mainly) male carnival workers and owners.  This meant that  nearly all the men readily agreed to talk to me informally as well as in interviews. This point is also made by Vale de Almeida in his study of hegemonic and subordinated masculinities, The Hegemonic  Male: Masculinity  in a Portuguese  Town  (1996), wherein he claims that female anthropologists have easier access to "the masculine world" than do male anthropologists (Vale de Almeida 1996:31). Thomas Dunk (1991) also discusses "the stereotype of the professor who is pathetically incompetent at any practical activity" (Dunk 1996:141), tying the stereotype in with overall anti-intellectualism in the working-class. What Dunk does not explore, however, is the sex (and, therefore, perceived gender) and race of the 'professor'. My experience in the working-class culture of the carnival reveals that I was always seen as a (White) woman first by the male workers, carnival worker second and only incidentally a researcher. I will also show that being a female had  80  implications for my research and social interaction with the female carnival workers. It, variously, created some barriers but also opened many interesting research doors as well. Gender, then, clearly does matter, not only as an important concept in research, analysis and theorizing, but equally so for the person conducting the research and those who are the subjects of the research. The second point concerns the practical fact that I spent most of my working hours ensconced in a ticket box, with sporadic lunch and "bathroom" breaks. The ticket boxes were always located strategically and logically near the carnival rides so that customers could conveniently buy their ride tickets. Joint lines were set up at various locations on the carnival lot as well, but my vantage point in the ticket box allowed me to observe the carnival ride guys at work almost continuously. During slow times, when customers were scarce, the ride guys would frequently saunter over to the ticket box and engage in conversations and hilarious banter with me, so I was also privy to much personal and social interaction. The joint workers, however, were never permitted to leave their joints, even on the slowest day when nary a mooch was in sight. I did chat with them on my forays for food at my campsite, or en route to a toilet, but these conversations were often conducted while I was literally on the move, because the joint bums were discouraged from engaging in conversations with other carnival workers by their bosses, such interactions being perceived as time and focus better served by calling in customers to their joints. I did, however, observe them at work as much as I was able, depending on where the joint lines and the ticket box were loked. As for the other workers (welder, electricians, office workers and other administrative personnel), I watched as they 81  strode by o v e r s e e i n g the carnival, or working on broken-down rides or equipment. I did s p e n d o n e full d a y in the office, at my request, in order to get a full "taste" of the work involved, a n d visits to the office were frequent for ticket sellers, a s w e had to collect our bag of tickets and c h a n g e just before the carnival o p e n e d , routinely go to the office to get more tickets, a n d return our b a g s at the e n d of the carnival night. Lastly, and a s a prominent illustration of the s a l i e n c e of s o c i a l c l a s s in the carnival, I n e e d to point out that, socially, I aligned myself mainly with the carnival workers (as o p p o s e d to the royalty).  W h e n I first started working in the carnival, the  word quickly s p r e a d that I w a s a friend of R a c h e l ' s a n d w a s , therefore, by association, a q u a s i - m e m b e r of the royalty. T h i s meant that I w a s perceived a s being the recipient of s o m e d e g r e e of patronage. B e i n g s e e n a s o n e w h o a s s o c i a t e s with the royalty w a s a mark of respect. However, I a l s o learned quite quickly that it served a s a barrier to the complete o p e n n e s s of the workers to me. F e a r that any of their "transgressions" might leak back to the b o s s e s led to many of the workers withholding what I felt w a s useful a n d pertinent data, in terms of how they understood their work and negotiated the often o p p r e s s i v e conditions of that work. M y d e c i s i o n , therefore, to a s s o c i a t e mainly with the workers a r o s e out of an initial d i l e m m a .  I felt that I had to m a k e a c h o i c e between (a) a set of research data  that reflected a generally b a l a n c e d s a m p l e of the carnival population, but that would not necessarily reveal any in-depth data or (b) a set of r e s e a r c h data that w a s able to fully utilize the vantage point that I had in the ticket box: namely, to explore more deeply the lives a n d e x p e r i e n c e s of the workers t h e m s e l v e s . I never regretted my decision: in fact, I must candidly c o n f e s s that I felt more e m p a t h y for the carnival 82  workers, a s w e s h a r e d m u c h of the s a m e very difficult living a n d working conditions, s o a mutual understanding of t h e s e conditions w a s more easily obtained. M y decision w a s c e m e n t e d w h e n , trudging through pouring rain a n d mud at midnight after closing o n e night, e n route to my tent, I p a s s e d by the fifth w h e e l trailers of the royalty, s e e i n g their lights o n , hearing their television sets, a n d observing them relaxing on w a r m , comfortable c o u c h e s . T h e rest of us had to c o p e with freezing, soaking a c c o m m o d a t i o n s : e v e n my tent w a s pitched in a small lake, a n d I went to bed s o a k e d , very cold a n d , quite frankly, a m a z e d a n d angry that the royalty w e r e s o blissfully uncaring of the conditions under which their workers lived and toiled. O n e last, but significant, issue, is that of confidentiality, specifically information given to m e by subjects that dealt with illegal activities. I felt obligated not to report s u c h information to authorities, under the provisions of S e c t i o n 3 of S S H R C ' s Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical C o n d u c t for R e s e a r c h Involving H u m a n s which reads "Information that is d i s c l o s e d in the context of a professional or research relationship must be held confidential" (see A p p e n d i x G for further explanation).  Throughout this thesis, however, I d o a c k n o w l e d g e the difficulties that  I e x p e r i e n c e d ethically w h e n presented with s u c h information. Conclusion In the next two chapters, I provide a largely descriptive a c c o u n t of Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s . C h a p t e r F o u r f o c u s e s on the physical entities that m a k e up the carnival, a s well a s the groups of people that live a n d work therein. In C h a p t e r Five I e x a m i n e the living conditions of the various groups of carnival o w n e r s a n d workers, a s well a s w a g e s e a r n e d . I also d i s c u s s the g e n d e r e d a n d racialized hierarchies 83  that I located in Sullivan Amusements.  Kiddy L a n d at the carnival, including my ticket box, at a large exhibition in British C o l u m b i a  85  Chapter 4 Pig Iron, Joints, Royalty and Dogs: The Physical and Social Structure of Sullivan Amusements July 4/96 Woke up at 9:30, rain has stopped, floor is soaked, but I'm dry. Decided against the Rec Centre shower in favour of a washdown in the tent. Cassie is very drunk, staggering, everyone's on red alert! Breaky of coffee, granola and strawberries. Went to the office at 12:15. Cynthia said Rachel and Lynn were off at the hairdressers and wanted the office floor washed. I volunteered to get water from Bucky who was hosing down the Zipper. Opened at 1 PM. It's hot, cloudy and I think we're in for more rain. Sam's in bare feet and rolled up jeans today. He has sandals but he's not wearing them. He has a squirt gun; aims at the Ticket Box. It's 3:05 PM and I'm back at the Ticket Box feeling that usual lack of sense of time that happens by the second (Personal  day.  Notes)  Introduction: In this chapter, I describe the carnival, Sullivan Amusements, in terms of both its physical characteristics as well as the groups of people who work and live within it. In order to contextualize this illustration, I refer to the description of carnivals provided by Patrick Easto and Marcello Truzzi in their (1973) paper, "The Social System' , 45  Carnival  as well as that offered by Theodore Dembroski (1973) in "Hanky  Panks and Group Games  versus Alibis and Flats: The Legitimate  and Illegitimate  of  ln their article, Easto and Truzzi refer frequently to the (1954) unpublished Master's Thesis of Wittold Krassowski entitled "Social Structure and Professionalization in the Occupation of the Carnival Worker". Overall, Easto and Truzzi note only minor divergences between their findings and those of Krassowski, which shows the resilience of most of the carnival structures and practices. Although it is over forty years between Krassowski's research and mine, most of my findings concur with Krassowski. When I refer to Easto and Truzzi in this chapter, I also point out any similarities to or differences from Krassowski, in order to highlight what may or may not have altered over time in the carnival. 45  86  the Carnival's  Front End" to s h o w the similarities a n d the differences between t h e s e  earlier (and only other extant) explications of North A m e r i c a n carnivals a n d what I o b s e r v e d nearly twenty-five y e a r s later. R e f e r e n c e s are a l s o m a d e to the [American] Outdoor A m u s e m e n t B u s i n e s s A s s o c i a t i o n ( O . A . B . A . ) w h o s e e x i s t e n c e 46  I uncovered during an Internet s e a r c h of carnivals. T h e O . A . B . A . is not a particularly scholarly s o u r c e , but its s o - c a l l e d 'Carnival Facts' p a g e d o e s cite s o m e statistics a n d other information that corroborate data found e l s e w h e r e . I a l s o refer to observations that I m a d e of two other large A m e r i c a n carnivals (including a n interview with the Lot Superintendent of one), during my time with Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s .  O n e of t h e s e  carnivals w a s playing at an exhibition in a m i d - W e s t e r n C a n a d i a n province; the other w a s at another larger exhibition in the state of North D a k o t a , just a c r o s s the border from where Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s w a s playing at a small town agricultural fair. North A m e r i c a n C a r n i v a l s Carnivals in C a n a d a are few in number, at least in c o m p a r i s o n to the numbers of carnivals in the United States. T h e United S t a t e s ' culture contains more of a tradition of carnivals and the prevalence of State Fairs a l s o provides more fertile and n u m e r o u s opportunities for A m e r i c a n carnivals. T h e s o n (and heir apparent) of  The O.A.B.A. is "the largest trade association for the carnival industry...[with] almost 500 member carnivals and over 5,000 members" (O.A.B.A). The association appears to have been formed in the early 1960's to fend off union organization attempts and "problems such as federal minimum wage and hour laws and interstate commerce regulations" which "threatened the industry" (ibid). I made several attempts to communicate with the O.A.B.A. to learn more about the attempted union organization: none of my telephone calls were returned, unfortunately. 46  87  the owner of Sullivan Amusements told me that there are at least 400 to 500 carnivals in the United States, and that, in Canada, there are between 40 and 50.  47  Easto and Truzzi (1973) offer the following statistics on American carnivals. In 1902 there were 17 carnivals in the U.S., and by 1934, this number had grown to 119; they claim there is no data for the years between 1934 and 1970, although they did locate figures for 1969: 1963 carnivals (Easto and Truzzi 1973:553). There is no way to know absolutely how many carnivals are in existence at any one time, and Easto and Truzzi claim that "writers on carnivals vary in their estimates, usually stating that between 300 to 500  46  carnivals are currently operating in the United  States" (1973:553). However, because of the rather loose categorization of "carnival", anyone who acquires a ride or two can call his/her operation a carnival, which speaks strongly to the transitory and amorphous nature of carnivals, their manifestations and their lifespans. It may be the case that statistics on American carnivals are now more available and accurate, given that many of the more 'fly-by-night' operations have disappeared.  A senior Sullivan Amusements administration person told me that, in  the United States, an expose on the criminal elements of carnivals was conducted by an American news program during the 1980's and, since that time, the American federal government has watched and monitored very closely the activities of all  Most are in the eastern provinces. The son, Paul Sullivan, said that there are five in Western Canada. 47  A more updated source for this information proclaims that "there are approximately 500 carnivals that travel the United States each year, ranging in size from one or two rides to over 100 portable rides" (O.A.B.A. "Carnival Facts"). 48  88  carnivals . Consequently, many of the smaller, less savoury carnival operations 49  have been forced to shut down, leaving only the largest, healthiest and most 'sanitized' to survive and prosper . Most of the large American carnivals now have 50  their own on-site drug- and alcohol-testing paraphernalia and a rigorous procedure in place for employees caught in or suspected of engaging in illegal substances, including counselling and rehabilitation (discussed in more detail in Chapter Eleven. When I asked Paul Sullivan why such a program was not in place at Sullivan Amusements, given the high degree of substance abuse, Paul replied that it was not legal in Canada to drug-test employees. With regard to exact numbers of carnivals in Canada, there is no distinct category for carnivals according to Statistics Canada; instead they come under the more general category of "Amusement Parks, Carnivals and Circuses". There are a total of 308 of these in Canada (as of 1997), broken down provincially as follows: Newfoundland Manitoba Ontario Quebec New Brunswick Nova Scotia P.E.I. Alberta Saskatchewan  8 19 91 89 4 14 6 19 11  l attempted to locate the expose by contacting all the major American television networks, none of which had a record of such a program. 49  The O.A.B.A. certainly presents a very wholesome image of American carnivals with its statement that "almost all [American] carnivals are sponsored by non-profit organizations which receive a significant portion of the proceeds from the event. Carnivals have helped to fund scholarships, buy needed fire or emergency rescue equipment, and generally help organizations fund charity work in almost every community in the country" (O.A.B.A. "Carnival Facts"). 50  89  B.C. 47 (Statistics Canada, June 1997) Because of the inclusion of carnivals under this broader category, there is no way of ascertaining precisely how many are carnivals. The only further information I have on the distribution of carnivals across Canada is, again, through conversations with the owner of Sullivan Amusements and his son. According to them, there are only three carnivals based in British Columbia, and none in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba (although I learned in 1998 that one Ontario carnival does some spots in Manitoba). There are many in Ontario and Quebec but, due to the larger population in these provinces, these carnival companies only rarely travel outside their provincial boundaries. As well, in the province of Quebec, many of the carnivals are what might be termed Carnivals, meaning that they are affiliated with religious or other traditional ceremonies (e.g. Winter Carnivals in Quebec City). Absolutely essential to the success of any carnival is the customer base: the larger the population, the greater the revenue. The relative scarcity of dense populations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba renders these areas as only marginally lucrative. Of the few carnivals based in British Columbia, only Sullivan Amusements plays in British Columbia and also travels into the central Canadian provinces. They are one of only two Canadian carnivals to travel to the central prairie provinces, although one or two large American carnivals are contracted to play at large annual exhibitions in some of the prairie cities. Another factor that serves to problematize the precise gathering of statistics on carnivals is the common practice of North American carnivals, especially the  90  larger enterprises, to split into two (and, occasionally, three) groups. These "splits"  51  occur when two (or more) spots are booked simultaneously. Another circumstance under which a split may occur is if the carnival is booked spontaneously, during the season, at a spot that coincides with a booked spot. On such occasions, the rides and concessions are almost evenly divided so that each carnival segment has an equal number of large and small rides and concessions. Splits are demanding on the workers, especially the ride guys who have to endure extra setups, teardowns and long drives. During my time with Sullivan Amusements, I experienced two splits which included what were known as Hell Nights.  A Hell Night usually took the following similar form.  After working a full 14-  hour work day (the hours that the show was open), the workers immediately started tearing down upon the show closing, usually around 11:00 P.M., which took about six hours. They then drove to the next spot (which could take between three and eight hours), immediately started setting up the carnival again in time for opening at noon the next day, and then worked a full 14-hour shift while the show was open. Hell Night often included "double-backs" which entailed a truck driver having to take a ride to the next spot, and then immediately turn around, return to the  Easto and Truzzi (1973:556) also refer to larger shows which frequently split into two units. However, in such cases, the carnivals are sufficiently large that they have enough rides and concessions (and personnel) to effectively run two or sometimes three autonomous units, each of which has its own route. Occasionally, for a particularly large spot (such as large exhibition), all units will converge into one massive show. One of the other B.C. carnivals, for example, is comprised of three units, each headed by a family member. Similarly, the American carnival that I observed in North Dakota was a composite of many sub-units that only melded for this one large exhibition each season. This carnival's Lot Superintendent told me their operation consists of two separate units that converge three times each season (Marcus 77). And the American carnival I observed in one of the Canadian prairie provinces was also an amalgamation of several sub-units (1:5). 51  91  previous spot, and drive another ride.  This is because there were not always  enough trucks to transport all the rides at one time to two different locations. One veteran driver gave me his description of a recent double-back that he and another senior driver guy had made: Jack:  Fiona: Jack: Fiona:  We just left [a town] on Friday, took the Greyhound [bus] to [town about 600 miles east], picked up two trailers there, brought them here to [town in between, 300 miles west] and then got a ride back to [first town, another 300 miles west]. We had to tear down our rides [6 hours] and drive from [first town] back to [town in between, 300 miles east]. Was this all in one day? All in one weekend. Did you get some sleep somewhere?  Jack:  On the Greyhound (Jack 2).  In order to sustain themselves during this very demanding ordeal, many of the carnival workers took what I was told were caffeine pills (known as "bennies") and I noticed that the tension prior to teardown at the spot before the split was always extremely high, especially amongst the ride guys who performed the most physically-demanding labour in the carnival.  During my observations of the ride  guys during the hours of work after they set up the rides (towards the latter part of Hell Night), I noted that it was "like watching The Night of the Living Dead" (personal notes): they walked like zombies, with completely dead eyes, often just standing or sitting and twitching uncontrollably.  In conversations with other carnival workers  about my observations (during which I could not help but voice my concern at their health and ability to safely build and run the rides), I learned that this was not uncommon, as the ride guys were coming down from extremely high doses of bennies that they needed to stay awake for the 36 or 48 hours that Hell Night  92  spanned. Carnival S e a s o n s a n d R o u t e s M o s t carnivals operate approximately eight months of e a c h year, from M a r c h through to O c t o b e r . B e i n g essentially outdoor operations, carnivals are strongly 52  influenced by the s e a s o n s and weather in general. Carnivals follow almost the s a m e route, playing the s a m e spots, year after year, d u e to c o n t r a c t s  53  which are drawn up b e t w e e n the carnival a n d the various  hiring entities, s u c h a s malls, small towns a n d Fair B o a r d s . Fair B o a r d s (also called Committees) are m a d e up of (usually volunteer) prominent b u s i n e s s people (usually males) w h o represent the regular, annual agricultural fairs a n d larger exhibitions that provide the most c o m m o n (and profitable) v e n u e for a travelling carnival. Included in contract negotiations are the financial arrangements: in most c a s e s , according to the senior Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s staff, a percentage of the take is paid to the hiring b o d y . Contract periods c a n range from three to five years a n d , although contract 54  Easto and Truzzi (1973:554) concur with Krassowski (1954) who similarly states that the majority of U.S. carnivals operate from April until October, while others are yearround operations. The carnival in North Dakota, for example, travels eight or nine months of the year (Marcus interview, p. 77). 52  Dembroski (1973:569) also refers to the contracts entered into by show owners with "towns, cities, and county and state fairs", included in which are the financial arrangements that take the form of "a financial guarantee and/or a percentage of the carnival's gross income." 53  As Sullivan Amusements is a strictly cash-run operation, I asked Rachel how a financial figure is arrived at in order to compute the agreed-upon percentage at the end of the spot. She told me that the same informal guidelines apply in these cases as in the cases of the nut (percentage) paid by many of the independents. In both sets of circumstances, a check with the previous year's figures provides the carnival with a kind of bench-mark figure to go by, while also considering any mitigating factors such as the weather that may affect the revenue. Rachel advised me that there was an unspoken 54  93  'rollovers' are common , it is the larger exhibitions that often provide the most lively 55  competition among carnival show owners when such contracts are up for renewal (see Appendix D for a typical carnival contract with a fair board). The route list of carnivals (contracted spots) is submitted to an American publication called Amusement  Business  prior to the start of each season but, again,  characteristic of the carnival culture, this seems to be a rather arbitrary or voluntary procedure. Easto and Truzzi state that "carnival owners do not always submit their route lists for publication" (1973:553) — yet they offer no explanation. There appears to be a very practical reason why route lists may not be submitted (or only parts of the route declared). There is great competition among carnivals, and a carnival owner's biggest fear is that another carnival will have set up in a spot a week before their scheduled spot, or in a town nearby at the same time as the other carnival, thereby "bleeding them dry" (taking the town's money). According to Rachel (Paul Sullivan's partner), Sullivan Amusements does submit a route list, but it is abbreviated and 'edited' for precisely the above-noted reason . 56  Another reason for not disclosing the full carnival route (and, consequently,  acknowledgment between the carnival and its contractees that the figure was never completely accurate, but close enough to the previous year so that disputes could not develop. The American carnival playing North Dakota, for example, has had the contract for that spot for over twenty years (Marcus 77). 55  This, in fact, created a temporary difficulty for me: At the beginning of the season, I had been given a route list (places and dates). I had made domestic arrangements around these dates, and only learned of the extension of the season in casual conversation, finding out that it was quite normal to quote a 'bogus' end of the season which, in reality, continued for more than another month. 56  94  season length) concerned Revenue Canada: Sullivan Amusements theoretically had a season the exact length of the minimum time period necessary for a worker to qualify for Employment Insurance.  Sullivan Amusements, therefore, called the  periods before this legitimate work period the "pre-season", and paid all workers cash daily, not deducting any income tax for those who wished it (and therefore not submitting any to the federal government!) . 57  Physical and Organizational Structure of Sullivan Amusements Sullivan Amusements can be categorized as a mid-size carnival , with a total 58  of approximately fifteen large rides (known as "adult rides"), about fifteen children's rides (known as "kiddie rides"), three joint lines (groups of concession games), ten food joints (food concessions) and a few miscellaneous sales joints . Typical of 59  l also learned that workers could 'buy' weeks to make up enough to collect Employment Insurance. In one case, towards the end of the 'legitimate' portion of the season, a female carny who worked in a food joint wanted to leave her job to be with her male partner, another carnival worker. The show was splitting and the food joint was not going with his side of the split. Rachel agreed that she could buy the two weeks she needed to make up the minimum number of weeks for E.I. As Rachel said to me "She'll be laid off to me but to the government she will have worked another two weeks" (27-10). 57  Easto and Truzzi agree with carnival size definitions that were provided by Wittold Krassowski in 1954: Krassowski claims that a medium-sized carnival was "a truck show with 15 to 20 rides and 50 to 100 concessions". This contrasts with a large carnival which was usually transported by railroad cars and contained approximately 100 rides and "hundreds of concessions and shows" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:554). Rachel referred to the American carnival playing at the prairie exhibition as a typical large U.S. operation: "70, 80 rides, with 3 or 4 guys plus a foreman on each ride...you got 200 or 300 people working — it's a big company" (1-5). 58  The structure of Sullivan Amusements in terms of its key personnel and their actual jobs was remarkably similar to descriptions supplied by Easto and Truzzi (1973:555). The geographical layout of a typical carnival lot as described by Easto and Truzzi has also remained almost identical - a horseshoe-shape — with the larger rides at the mid-point (rear) of the horseshoe, and smaller rides and games/concessions alternating up both sides of the horseshoe. Often one or two joint lines interspersed with food joints were placed up the centre of the lot, with ticket boxes strategically located: one near the entrance to the lot, 59  95  most carnivals, however, the owner of Sullivan Amusements did not actually own all of these units, although he did own most of the central components of the carnival, and the majority of the rides. The organizational structure of Sullivan Amusements was complex and often quite informal, which is characteristic of most carnivals (Easto and Truzzi 1973:555). However, like most organizations, its structure and relationships were based on relations of power and authority, access to that power, and the parameters to which that power extended. The power relations were often very informal and difficult to discern, especially to the uninitiated. However, the distinctions between the various levels were well-known to the carnival occupants. . As I have already stated, carnivals are highly complex structures that with a cursory appraisal might provoke the carnival non-savant to assume they are nothing more than a completely illogical assemblage of human beings and colourful amusements, devoid of organization. It certainly took a few weeks for me to understand not only the carnival hierarchy but, more significantly, the ways in which that hierarchy was constructed. Like most people in an alien social environment, I (unconsciously at first) used my prior knowledge of business organizations and bureaucratic structures to try to understand the various levels of authority, prestige, and power among and between individuals and groups. By about my third day on the job I realized that almost none of the conventional rules of authority, upward mobility, necessary paper qualifications for jobs, and other formal and informal  and another near the large rides at the rear of the horseshoe.  96  modes of operation and job progression applied at Sullivan Amusements. And, later, I learned that Sullivan Amusements was not an anomaly in the carnival world, but that nearly all carnivals operated in a similar manner. Due to these complexities, I offer a chart (Appendix E) which illustrates the hierarchy at Sullivan Amusements. The hierarchy was based almost directly on the Weberian interpretation of class as a base for social action, in which people are imbued with degrees of power depending on the class that they occupy and "...this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income and... under the conditions of the commodity or labor markets" (Weber in Giddens 1982:61). Cece, a joint line supervisor, explained the economic structure at Sullivan Amusements in the following manner: The only people dealing with the higher-ups are the ones with just a little bit less money than the people with all the money. And then as it goes down the line, the less you have, the lower the people you deal with, which is very similar to any criminal organization that I've ever encountered. But I don't think that their contacts with organized crime remain today. Nowadays I don't think there are contacts with the underworld or illicit nefarious activities, but the practices are the same, only because it's the only way to run a type of business like this where you are a gypsy on the move (Cece 22). As Cece explained, the social class and power of carnival workers was determined by ownership of carnival rides, games and other concessions. The ownership component was strengthened even further by the familial connections: relatives and close friends (ranging from siblings, partners and cousins, through to relatives of close friends) had much greater access to the opportunity to become an owner or part-owner of a piece of carnival equipment, which resulted in a very insular cabal  97  that was almost impenetrable by someone without the necessary connections . It was this latter element that was, initially, unknown to me. I simply could not understand why one person clearly had privileges and prestige over others which, to the unknowing (and rational) observer, defied logic and even fairness. I constructed the hierarchy on the basis of social class and its resultant power and it is separated into name(s), job titles and any material carnival components that they owned and controlled. I hasten to add that this chart of carnival workers does not include every person who worked at or for Sullivan Amusements over the season, but it does contain the key personnel and employee groups. I now continue with my description of Sullivan Amusements by expanding on each of the major employee and/or owner categories, providing details on the actual work that they did in the carnival, as well as their gender and race. I.  Ron and Lynn Sullivan (owners of Sullivan Amusements) (both White) At the head of the carnival was the owner of Sullivan Amusements, Ron  Sullivan, a man in his mid-50's who, along with his wife, Lynn, essentially ran the  Easto and Truzzi found that "a majority [of carnies] come into the carnival world through family connections with the outdoor amusement industry, if not directly from carnivals" (Easto and Truzzi 1973:559). The O.A.B.A. also state that "most carnivals remain family-owned businesses with second and even third generation ownership" (O.A.B.A. "Carnival Facts"). This was certainly the case in Sullivan Amusements at the administrative level and, occasionally, at the worker level. In my interview with the Lot Superintendent of the North Dakota carnival, Marcus discusses the complex family structure of that carnival: "...The youngest son he runs the second unit [of the carnival]. The [other son] he's the vice-president. His wife's the office manager. And [the owner's wife] takes an active role in the office management when she's out. You might say, yeah, families are, most any carnival you go to in America, family members do occupy some of the high level positions, 'cause basically it's a cash business, you know. You can't really just grab somebody off the street. They're normally not used to dealing with large sums of cash. Family members you can normally trust them the most" (Marcus 78).  98  entire operation. Sullivan himself owned most of the rides, and a few of the money game concessions.  I learned that Ron ran away to work in a small travelling  carnival at the age of twelve in the 1950's, inheriting the small show in his early twenties. He built it up over the years to the size that it was at the time of the research.  Although he did have the final say in all carnival decisions,  61  Ron  Sullivan had become more of a figurehead in the last few years. 62  While I was with the carnival, Lynn left early in the season due to a family illness in Vancouver. She did, however, remain in touch with Ron, Rachel and Paul throughout the season and occasionally gave advice to Rachel on the running of the show. And just as Ron's ultimate authority had not waned, neither had Lynn's, despite her physical absence. Ron's activities were, despite his power, largely public relations issues , such as dealing with the most serious infractions by 63  Again, Easto and Truzzi refer to the carnival owner as "unquestionably [occupying] the highest prestige position in the carnival" (1973:556). 61  The owner of the American carnival I observed in the prairie exhibition occupied a similar, almost feudal/magisterial, figurehead position. The owner, an elderly man, officially retired several years ago, having been bought out by his son-in-law. The older man now just "comes out to the fair conventions and helps sign contracts and stuff" (1-6). (The sonin-law was a ride guy who married the owner's daughter. In a discussion with Sullivan's son, I learned that this was an unusual progression — most carnival owners would never permit their daughter to become involved socially with a ride guy.) Ron Sullivan's role in the carnival was quite similar — almost an elder statesman position whose wisdom and opinion were greatly respected by all carnival workers. It also seems to be the case that the carnival culture is so insulated against the mainstream culture, that "retiring" carnival workers (and owners) are extremely loathe to relinquish all ties (see also Stuttgen (1992) who examines the post-retirement artistic projects of an ex-carny). 62  Easto and Truzzi refer to a specific occupation in the carnival — the patch — who acts as a kind of informal legal liaison or public relations person and whose duty it is to take care of "carnival-related complaints or misgivings held by local officials" (1973:557), usually by bribing the offended individual. I found that these duties were dispersed among several key carnival employees, depending on the nature of the "beef" as it was called. For example, if a customer felt that he/she had not received a satisfactory ride, or if the show 63  99  carnival workers as well as socializing with prominent people in the various towns where the carnival played who were connected in some form with the booking of the carnival (e.g. people on Fair Boards). He did, nonetheless, command enormous respect from all the carnival workers and still wielded tremendous power in terms of hiring and firing (often at will), as well as in terms of the location of the various independent rides and concessions . 64  II.  Neil (White male married to White female) Another prominent owner in Sullivan Amusements, and one about whom I  received much conflicting information regarding the extent of his ownership, was Neil, a man who owned and controlled (but did not personally run) three of the rides, and who claimed to have a high degree of financial ownership in Ron Sullivan's carnival properties. Paul and Rachel told me that his investment was minor; Neil himself told me that he owned more than half of Sullivan's properties . 65  He  had closed before the customer's tickets had been used up, usually Rachel in the office would placate the customer by giving some free tickets which the customer could use the next day or even the next season. The unspoken word, however, in all cases, was that the customer must be calmed down as much as possible to avoid any possible attendance/attention by local authorities. This point is also made by Easto and Truzzi who equate the show owner's status with his material wealth in the carnival: "The more he owns of the rides, shows, and concessions, the greater his authority, and thus, to some degree, his status" (1973:557). Dembroski also refers to the show owner's "total and unquestioned authority over what is booked and how it operates on his show" (1973:568) 64  l first learned of Neil's involvement in the carnival quite casually at the first spot where I re-joined the carnival at the beginning of July. After I set up my tent in the parking lot of the mall where the carnival was playing, Chuck (novelty joint owner) offered me a glass of wine with the assurance of "no funny stuff" (meaning that his intentions were pure!). Neil and his wife soon joined us and, upon my explanation of what I was actually doing in the carnival, Neil's wife expressed surprise that I had not elicited the permission of Neil to conduct the research. This put me in a rather delicate ethical position as Lynn Sullivan had 65  100  certainly did very little hands-on work on his rides, or on any other aspect of the carnival, treating the season more as an extended vacation in his luxurious fifth wheel trailer, zooming around the lot on his flamboyant turquoise Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A s an illustration of the degree of familial connections in the carnival, Neil used to be married to Lynn's sister; he re-married and both his wife and her son (who works on one of his rides) travelled with him for the entire season. I also noticed that, although Neil was certainly well-liked by all the carnival workers (at all levels), he was not treated with the almost stupefied awe that Ron received from the majority of the carnival workers. III.  Rachel and Paul (both White) Ron's son, Paul, aged 23 at the time of the research, ran the carnival actively  on a day-to-day basis and it was common knowledge around that carnival that he would eventually take over the entire operation. Paul shared the running of the carnival with his female partner, Rachel, who was in charge of the carnival office and everyday financial transactions.  I learned that Rachel's entry into the carnival  followed the pattern typical of most female carnival workers. She had met Paul in a  said quite clearly that she and her husband owned the carnival; therefore, I only needed to obtain a letter of permission to conduct the research from them. Neil himself did not seem concerned, expressing it in the declaration that "we don't give a rat's ass". I decided to ask him for a letter to that effect (in slightly different wording, of course) which I never did receive. However, according to Rachel, Neil's degree of carnival ownership was very minor. This was yet another instance where I was told contradictory information by several of the parties "in the know". These paradoxes often presented themselves to me during the research; I simply decided to leave them unresolved, as I felt that their very presence was germane to the many layers of "truth" that I uncovered during my time with the carnival. However, given the developments that I learned about in August 1999 (see Chapter Eleven), it does appear that Neil did, in fact, own a substantial portion of the Sullivan rides. 101  bar and subsequently joined the carnival working in the money games, while she and Paul continued their personal relationship. She told me that she was successful as a games worker because her physical appearance ("big tits" as she described it) drew in male customers. By the next year (the year prior to my research), Rachel was an informal apprentice of Lynn Sullivan, who was in charge of the everyday financial and office administration matters. Rather like Ron's relationship with his son, in terms of passing on the mantle of authority, it was also the case that Rachel had, for the most part, taken over many of Lynn's duties . 66  IV.  Rick (White male) This man, roughly the same age as Paul Sullivan, occupied an unnamed, yet  highly powerful, position in the carnival. Known informally as Paul's "right-hand man", he had entered the carnival in, again, a style typical at the higher ranked levels. I was told by several people that he had gone to school with Paul (exact location unknown) and was a close friend of Paul's. He co-owned the "Funhouse" (a haunted house and my first job location) along with Paul, and he also solely owned one of the carnival trucks, the cab of which was his home. Rick was one of the few  0ne of her duties was to sign any cheques, by forging Ron Sullivan's signature. Rachel told me about this in a very matter-of-fact manner: Ron Sullivan never signed his name to any of the cheques; instead, Lynn had been signing them, using his actual name. One of Rachel's first duties, therefore, was to learn how to forge Ron Sullivan's (actually Lynn's) signature. Rachel told me, with great hilarity, of a situation where Ron had had a cheque returned as, on the one rare occasion where he had actually signed a cheque, the bank had deemed that it was a forged signature and had rejected it. She then told me that she (Rachel) had actually signed the Letter of Consent that had been sent to me, forging Lynn's rendition of Ron's signature, although with Lynn's consent and knowledge. This, of course, presented me with yet another ethical dilemma but by this point, the research was well under way. It did, however, explain why Ron was unaware that I was conducting the research until the subject came up in a conversation I had with him. Fortunately, he did not object to the research! 66  102  royalty members that most of the other carnival workers strongly disliked, feared and held in relatively low regard. From conversations with many carnival workers, I learned that the low opinion and fear emanated from Rick's role as conveyor of negative information about (in particular) ride guys, to Paul. In many ways, Rick's "job" as Paul's right-hand man extended beyond assisting Paul to quite literally carrying out Paul's orders to fire or punish the ride guys when necessary. Given that the element of trust was held in high regard throughout the carnival, Rick's penchant for telling Paul about ride guys' (real or concocted) infractions translated into a position of enormous power over the ride guys and other low-level workers. V.  Dwight (White male) Equal in status to Harry Sullivan was Dwight, Lynn's cousin, who worked as  the lot man.  His central function was to "lay out the lot", meaning that he was one  of the first to arrive at each carnival spot and, aided by small wooden posts and rope, he marked off the required area for the various rides and concessions, using his feet to mark off the distances . For the larger spots, he relied on previous years' 67  maps of the lots, making the necessary adjustments for additions or deletions from those years' carnival components (see Appendix F for photograph of layout of one of the largest spots in Sullivan Amusement's seasonal route).  Dwight also sold  jewellery at some of the carnival spots, setting up a table outside his fifth-wheel trailer.  The "lot man" is also specified by Easto and Truzzi as the person who "arrives on the grounds ahead of the carnival and decides where to place the various attractions" (1973:556). Easto and Truzzi also point out the vast amount of knowledge possessed by the "lot man" in knowing the precise dimensions of each ride, joint and concession. 67  103  VI.  Harry Sullivan (White male) Ron's brother, Harry (whom I never actually met as he and his wife travelled  ahead of the carnival) worked as a public relations person, setting up radio and newspaper advertisements in the local papers where the carnival was booked. He also reserved hotel rooms for a few of the quite elderly men — long-time friends of Ron Sullivan — who worked only in the P.C. stores and flatties (see glossary for details), some of whom hailed from as far away as New York City. VII.  John (White male) Administratively, the next significant carnival employee was the Lot  Superintendent , John, whose duties included the overall maintenance of all the 68  carnival trucks and rides, as well as some public relations tasks, as, prior to working for the carnival, John was involved for years on various Fair Boards. He had the power to hire and fire ride guys, and also acted informally as a kind of a father figure to many of the younger ride guys who turned to him if they had a personal problem.  69  John was another carnival worker who entered the carnival through  Easto and Truzzi refer to the "ride superintendent" as "a kind of grand mechanic who knows how to assemble, disassemble and repair all of the major riding devices" (1973:557), which is a very apt description of John. They also refer to the enormity of responsibilities inherent in this job. 68  John's duties in the carnival reflected a pattern that I located in many occupations: people's duties were modified according to the individual skills and abilities which they brought to the carnival. With the exception of ride guys, joint bums and food concessions workers, rather than seeking a person to fill a particular position, the carnival owners were more likely to consider a person an ideal carnival employee and create or adjust a position to fit that person's abilities (which were not usually credentialed, but fell more in the category of personal characteristics or leanings). I, for example, was offered a job for the following season that involved great responsibility and integrity — running a concession that was solely for the carnival workers (selling carnival uniform t-shirts and snack food). They had no intention of posting the job opening as one would probably find in a more 69  104  friendship, with Ron Sullivan, which resulted from their many years of contact when John was on the Fair Board of his home town. According to John, Ron asked him for years to work for the carnival, each time 'upping the ante' in terms of perks, in order to entice him. John was not unfamiliar with carnivals, having worked for one as a teenager. He explained his entry into Sullivan Amusements during our interview: I've been in trucking and farming for many, many years after that, and when I moved to [interior B.C. town] in 1972, I got involved with the exhibition pretty well every way down there. The fair always seemed to draw me, and I worked my way up through the exhibition there. I was livestock and operations superintendent for sixteen years and finally president of the exhibition. I've known Ron Sullivan for about 20 years and one of the first times I ever met Ron, I mentioned that I was ex-carnival. He quizzed me and he said, "Oh, no, you aren't ex-carnival". So he started asking certain questions and hitting on some of the slang and that. After a couple hours and a few drinks, he says, "John, you're ex-carny!"... I always said, "Yeah, you get itchy feet, you know, seeing you guys in town ready to take off". That's where it started from. And about eight years ago I was thinking about getting out of the farming. Ron said "Gee, if you ever want a job, we got one out here for you". Well, over the period of six years prior to me coming out here, he kept making things better and better for me until finally I said to heck with it, I'm selling the farm and I gave up my position with the exhibition and came out here to work for the show (John 21). John was initially hired (in 1995) as foreman of the kiddy rides and to "run the shop" which meant to be in charge of the truck maintenance. By the end of the first year, he became the Show Superintendent, as well as continuing to oversee the kiddy rides.  conventional work location. The job offer also demonstrated to me how I was seen, even by the carnival owners, as a "carny" (and therefore likely to want to return the next season) rather than a sociologist! I thanked them for the offer but said that I hoped to be teaching the next season. 105  VIII.  Gary (White male) The owner of one of the joint lines (games), Gary also wielded a high degree  of power in the carnival. I was never able to ascertain exactly how or why he was given this right by the carnival owners. He was, in fact, a relative newcomer to Sullivan Amusements. However, again, he was part of a familial network — his two brothers also owned joint lines and one of his brothers co-owned a joint line with Matt. A s well as overseeing his joint line, Gary was in charge of "loking" the carnival transportation/living quarters entourage (which included me and my tent) at each spot. Gary also acted on behalf of Ron Sullivan in various firings. As well, I learned that Gary was in charge of the so-called "beating crew": a small group of ride guys who were selected to carry out the punitive beatings on ride guys and joint bums, explored more fully in Chapter Eight. IX.  Frank, Peter and Scott (all White males) These three men, the first two who were the electricians and the third who  was the welder, had equal parity in terms of power, although Frank enjoyed somewhat greater prestige given that he owned one of the kiddy rides and also doubled as a Lot Foreman (his immediate supervisor being John).  The carnival  also employed a welder (one of the few qualified -- i.e. credentialed -- employees). Both the welder (Scott) and the electrician (Frank) had worked for the carnival for years, and came from families who also worked for other carnivals for decades. All three men had female partners who also worked for the carnival: Scott's partner, Cynthia, worked in the office and, occasionally, as a ticket-seller. Moira, Frank's partner, worked on some of the money joints, and also looked after the couple's 106  one-year-old son.  Peter, also an electrician, was in a relationship with Britney, one  of the "floss girls", who entered the show by way of a previous relationship with a ride guy, whom she met when the carnival was playing in her home town earlier in the season. X.  The Independents (all White males and one White female) As the independent contractors hired by the carnival comprised an eclectic  group of people and equipment, I now provide more details. The independents were people who owned their own rides, game joint lines, food concessions, or miscellaneous joints (e.g. palm reader, t-shirt/jewellery vendor, novelty joint, pony rides), some of whom remained with Sullivan Amusements for the entire season, and others who moved among various carnivals throughout the season . 70  The arrangements for the more itinerant independents were very loose and informal: handshake agreements with Ron Sullivan to give a percentage (known as 'points') of their day's take (called "the nut") as a kind of rent. Points varied 71  tremendously from 20% to 45%, depending on how well-known they were to Ron Sullivan, how much money their independently-owned "business" generated, and,  Dembroski provides a good description of independents that I found mirrored in the situation of Sullivan Amusements: he refers to the arbitrary nature of the largely informal contractual arrangements made between the independents and the show owner, as well as the degree of privilege that manifests itself in where the independent is placed on the lot. Dembroski also refers to the "hopscotching" of independents between various shows that frequently occurs (Dembroski 1973:569). 70  According to Rachel, the nut is "the rent that independents bring in, because years ago, when circuses used to pull into town, the mayor of the town would get upset when circuses would head out without paying, so he would take one nut off of [sic] every wheel of every trailer and when the circus trainer brought his money in, his rent, the mayor would give him his nuts back" (11-13). 71  107  quite simply, how well-liked they were by Ron Sullivan. Where the independents were loked was a crucial factor in their (and Sullivan Amusement's) daily revenue, and all the previously stated factors came into play in terms of their loke . 72  Dwight,  the lot man, decided their location on the carnival lot. If they were new to the carnival, they were more likely to receive a poor loke, as the higher the status (for all the above-named reasons), the better the loke , as Cece explains, quite bitterly, 73  below: Cece:  My lokes suck. That's another thing too, is, I came out this year and I had a couple of strong agents that were willing to work for me, and they kept bringing in the money, but they'd get bad spots. They'd bring in the money and they'd get bad spots, you know, even in their bad lokes they'd still do fuckin' strong. And yet we never got, until the spot after they left, all of a sudden incredible lokes for our stuff, after the hard agents are gone, because they were given shitty lokes. When you're loked, are you simply told this is where your joints go? Yeah, this is where this joint goes, this is where that joint goes. 74  Fiona: Cece:  Easto and Truzzi also point out that the overall status of an independent "varies with the number of attractions an independent owner operates" (1973:557). I found, however, that the inverse was also the case: an independent was more likely to accumulate more attractions if he (most of them were male) had culled favour with the show's owner, either by earning large amounts of money or by ingratiating himself in other ways. 72  Dembroski also describes in detail the complexities of loking and the unspoken progression that newcomers must go through: a first-time independent will likely be loked near the back end of the lot (farthest from the densest flow of pedestrian traffic) and "if he performs well and remains with the show, his location improves in subsequent weeks" (1973:570). Dembroski similarly refers to the competitiveness involved in getting a good loke: "Locating concessions is a constant source of frustrations and conflict in the life of the carnival.... [The complaining] is not... done in the show owner's presence, since he has complete and ultimate control over who remains on the show.... The concessionaire is usually careful to avoid alienating him and indeed employs a variety of tactics to court the favor of both the show owner and the lot man" (Dembroski 1973:570). 73  "Agents" were seasoned joint workers with a reputation for earning large sums of money. See Chapter Nine for a discussion of joint line labour. 74  108  Fiona:  Cece: Fiona:  Cece: Fiona: Cece:  Fiona: Cece:  Yeah. I've seen lots of evidence of that and lots of the independents in my interviews with them have mentioned this. And this is a major thorn in the side of people who have may have crossed swords with somebody in the higher-ups. This is like a punishment thing. Oh, yeah!. You get the shit loke and, yes, this highly preferential treatment that's given to the people that have been around for a helluva long time, hob nob with the royalty, at first it appears arbitrary, but in fact it's not arbitrary, 'cause you can see the pattern emerging. Oh, yeah. The bullshit has been going on out here since I've been out here. It's probably not unique to this carnival. Would you agree with that? No. Most of the time, most carnivals that I've seen is they put the joints on the basis of how much money they pull in. If you've got a good joint, you get a good place, because it makes more money for them. And you would say that with this carnival, that is not always the case. Not always, no. I know of a few times where my joints, where I know actual figures on other people's joints, 'cause people had cut loose, but I know my joints had done better, yet they get better call than I do. So then that goes to my staffing problem. If I don't have the lokes, they can't get the money. I don't have the staff. If I don't have the staff, I don't get the money and I don't get the lokes. They [royalty] know it. They can't not know it. They've been in the business longer than I have (Cece 21-  22). Appropriate deference to the lot man also had a bearing on the loke. A good example was a woman (the only female independent that I encountered) who 75  owned a (fake) bronco-ride/photos/home-made popcorn joint. A s this was her first season with Sullivan Amusements, Dwight gave her very poor lokes, which meant that she had few customers and, consequently, low revenue.  After a few of these  Many of the independents were husband-and-wife teams, but males were always clearly in charge of the operations: wives acted in an assistant capacity on the independent ride or joint, and were completely responsible for all domestic work in their travelling homes. 75  109  decidedly unprofitable lokes, she demanded from Dwight a better loke at the next spot, whereupon they had a heated argument. He punished her by giving her the worst loke at the next spot, a huge agricultural fair that had tremendous lucrative possibilities for her, even so far as to place her in a location where her joint was constantly in the shade, effectively eliminating any good photography. She eventually left the entire carnival at the end of the spot, vowing never to work for Sullivan Amusements again. In contrast, a mini-donut independent joint consistently got one of the best lokes on the lot, as the owner had been with Sullivan Amusements for many years and his food joint was very popular with the customers. Another rather arbitrary arrangement that I learned about was that some independents had to pay quite a large "deposit", known as a "performance bond" (ranging from $500 to $5000) at the beginning of the season to Dwight as a form of insurance that they would stay with the show for the season (or the agreed-upon spots). The amount given to the owner of Sullivan Amusements ranged from $500 to $1000. One independent related the following regarding this deposit which, in his case, was demanded by Dwight at almost every spot that he played. Norm: Fiona: Norm: Fiona: Norm:  I have to pay Dwight $1000 to go to [large, lucrative spot] because I don't go to every spot. Would you get the $1000 back? No, it's a fee for going into [the spot] and the thing is, there, it ain't worth it. No? Because you still have to pay your 25%? No, he wants a grand plus 10%. But, even working very hard, the most that I could probably end up with in my pocket, at the end of the day, would be about $100, so it's not worth my while. So that's why I'm going to the P . N . E . . I can make a bit more. 76  Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, B.C. 110  All it costs me is $100 a day at the P.N.E. and he wants $200? [The spot in question was for 5 days.] And, hey, a bad day at the P.N.E. is $400 (Norm 12-13). This money was supposed to be returned to them at the end of the season upon successful completion but, according to one source, Dwight simply pocketed the money, denying that he had ever received it in the first place. In keeping with the carnival's 'cash-only' policy, no written records of these transactions were ever kept . 77  It appeared to me that many independents enjoyed a great deal more freedom than most of the other employees directly under Sullivan Amusements' supervision. Although people who worked for the independents were just as vulnerable to being fired by Ron Sullivan (or the others) as anyone else, there seemed to be a degree of protection afforded them, in direct relation to the degree of status held by the independent owner.  There was also frequent movement of  employees among the independent operations : for example, a female might work 78  Money was often treated very casually, both in terms of "book-keeping" and in its actual handling. Paul Sullivan told me that carnivals did not start using banks until the 1980's. He told me that a few years ago, one of the senior carnival employees was carrying a garbage bag full of cash ($67,000) across the midway, during the show. He struck up a conversation with somebody in the middle of the midway, and placed the bag on the ground. After finishing the conversation, he then carried on walking, having completely forgotten about the bag of money, ending up in the Pie Car and having a few drinks. It was only after the show closed for the night that he remembered the bag: it was still sitting where he had left it, in the middle of the midway, surrounded by other bags containing actual garbage. 77  There was, however, an unwritten rule that if any employee got fired, they were not permitted to work for someone else in the carnival unless the firing employer gave permission. And unless the fired employee did find employment elsewhere, they had to leave the carnival lot. There were several occasions where I observed fired employees being "escorted" off the lot, with the threat that, if they returned, they would get beaten (see Chapter Eight). 78  Ill  for awhile for one of the independent food joints, quit or be fired, and then find work in another independent joint. XI.  Ticket Sellers (all White females except for one Aboriginal female) Another group of employees were the ticket-sellers (known as the "ticket  broads" or "ticket bitches"), all of whom were female except for one, a twelve-year old boy (the son of Gary, one of the joint line owners) who worked part of the season during the summer months. The ticket-sellers, numbering about six in total, but varying from about two at the beginning of the season and towards the end of the season, were generally well-respected by most of the carnival workers and employers. Our working conditions were better than most, as we worked inside a ticket booth, often being partnered with another seller at the busier spots. There were usually two ticket booths set up (the carnival owned three), one amongst the bigger (adult) rides and the other in the kiddy ride section. Our jobs consisted centrally of selling the tickets: single tickets which cost 75 cents each, a yellow "fun pack" of twenty tickets ($13), and a blue "Family Pack" of 40 tickets ($24). At larger spots, one day was often designated as "Kids' Day" when all children under the age of 13 could ride all the rides for two tickets each (normally, the larger rides cost five single tickets, the medium rides four tickets, and the "kiddy rides" three tickets). Also at larger spots, a "bracelet" day was designated: we sold bracelets (plastic wristbands) for $20 (which we had to personally affix to extended arms through our ticket box slots) and the wearer could ride all day by showing their bracelets.  112  We also had to clean our ticket boxes, inside and out, often a messy job after a long jump through inclement weather. Armed with spray bottles of window cleaner and paper towels, we would scrub down the outside of the boxes. All the ticket boxes were in poor condition: drawers that were rusty and/or falling apart or did not even exist at all, doors that did not lock, and top windows that leaked (remedied by stuffing a green garbage bag over it on the outside). We also had to place wooden boards and flags on top of the ticket boxes (which most of us accomplished by commandeering an adjacent ride guy who would readily agree to clamber to the top aided by a rickety ticket box stool). The stools that we sat on were most uncomfortable and ergonomically challenging: some had backs on them but, in all cases, one had to lean forward to take money, and hand out tickets and change. We also had to "get power" which meant taking a long power cord, plugging it into the rear of the ticket box and then finding an available power source. This often meant crawling underneath a nearby ride (in the mud) and either connecting to an existing plug, or creatively finding another way of connecting to the nearest generator. Another of our job duties was to help "tear down the office" at the end of each spot, conducted approximately 45 minutes after the show closed (during which time Rachel and Cynthia collected the independents' nuts). Tearing down the office consisted of dismantling the extremely heavy metal stairs and platforms, and removing the cumbersome belly cloth around the base of the office trailer, all of which had to be stored in the possum bellies (compartments) of the office trailer. Usually, this work was done in pitch dark with carnival trucks and the forklift rumbling by.  113  Ticket sellers were also frequently (and spontaneously) summoned to "clean the office", or "clean Ron's trailer" before the show opened. reward was three free drinks in the Pie Car!  In the latter case, the  Cleaning the office generally entailed  washing the floor and windows; if the prior jump resulted in the office getting covered in dried mud, the cleaning also included scrubbing down the outside of the office trailer, another laboriously backbreaking job. XII.  Ride Guys (approximately 1/3 White males, remainder Aboriginal/Metis males) This large group of 35 - 50 men  79  performed the most labour-intensive and  time-consuming work in the carnival: setting up, running and dismantling the carnival rides.  It is difficult to provide a precise number of these employees due to the high  turnover rate, but about thirty were relatively consistent carnival employees.  The  remainder were people who would be hired at a spot, mainly by simply walking onto  During my eight months associated with Sullivan Amusements, I knew of only one female ride operator. She was hired at a spot towards the end of the season where they needed some extra ride workers as it was a very busy location. She was put to work on the kiddy rides, which are much smaller and less complicated to set up and tear down than the adult rides. Female ride operators were felt to be incapable of the heavy work involved in the rides. Also, according to John, the lot superintendent who did most of the ride guy hiring, "when you hire females on the rides, you've got problems. There's the old hormone instincts and it usually ends up, she might end up with one guy in a cabana and then later jump into another cabana and then you get fights and problems. It's a lot safer just to have guys" (Interview). The North Dakota Lot Superintendent offered a different rationale. I had commented on seeing some female ride operators on some of the kiddy rides at his carnival. His response was: "Yeah, we try not to be discriminatory, you know, in denying jobs. W e put them to work on some of the smaller rides, some of the medium-size rides, where the work is not really hard, 'cause there's a lot of heavy lifting and things to do on some of the bigger rides and, you know, well, the way I was brought up, women shouldn't pick up big heavy pieces of iron, you know, that's the way I was brought up, so we don't want to discriminate and say they can't work on the rides, so we put them where they can't really be hurt" (Marcus 77). 79  114  the lot, finding out whom to talk to, asking for a job and getting hired.  Many of them  did not even last the spot; others made it until the first teardown and then disappeared or were fired. The informal rule of thumb about a ride guy's longevity in the carnival was that if he survived the first three weeks, he would "make it", a concept explored further in Chapter Seven. Only three ride guys completed the entire eight-month season during the time that I was with Sullivan Amusements. The other veteran carnival workers who did not complete the season were fired towards the end of the season for being drunk on the rides, or simply not showing up for several carnival day openings. An informal prestige system, similar to the one that I observed amongst the other groups of works, prevailed with the carnival ride guys. The ride guys with the most knowledge of the rides (having worked on most or all of them) were considered the most valuable employees. As a result, more leniency was often given to them as their expertise was needed. This fact was well-known by the veteran ride guys and they often used it to their advantage. I frequently observed seasoned ride guys coming back onto the lot, after a night on town, early in the morning and quite drunk. A newly-hired ride guy would have been fired on the spot, but the experienced ride guys were rarely punished in any form for this misdemeanor . Because of their 80  However, there were circumstances when even these guys were fired. An interesting example was the case of a veteran Aboriginal ride guy who appeared on the lot extremely drunk at opening time, about mid-way through the season. Although he was told to go back to his truck and 'sleep it off, he refused to leave his ride. Most other (more neophyte) carnival ride guys would have been fired on the spot. He pushed and pushed, by going to his truck and drinking some more, and returning to his ride. Eventually, the owners had no choice but to fire him. However, he appeared at the lot for the next spot and was re-hired. I observed two or three cases where this happened to veteran ride guys. 80  115  knowledge and, even more significantly, their friendships with other seasoned ride guys, their infractions were either ignored, or they were only mildly reprimanded. The friendships were important because the carnival owners knew that if they fired them, there was a strong possibility that two or three of their friends (also veteran ride guys) would quit also. Most of the adult rides had two ride guys, one of whom was a foreman (usually self-named, rather than an official job title!), while some of the larger rides had crews of four or five men. The 'foreman' was a ride guy who knew the ride very well, and had worked on it (and others) for at least one month.  The kiddy rides  were looked after by a crew of (usually) younger ride guys, supervised by the kiddy ride foreman, a carnival veteran of about four years. About six of the ride guys were also carnival truck drivers: they held Class I driver's licences . The drivers were usually senior ride guys who were also 81  considered to be the 'foreman' of their ride: the most seasoned and knowledgeable ride guys . 82  XIII.  Joint Lines (Owners: White males; Workers: White males and females (one  The year I was with Sullivan Amusements was the first year that the owners actually required drivers to hold this qualification: in previous years, no Class I was required by the carnival, but the fines that the drivers often received as a consequence led to the carnival owners demanding this credential. 81  The drivers also tended to be the most trustworthy as well. In keeping with the carnival's cash-only policy, just prior to a jump, each driver would be handed an envelope that contained just enough cash for gas. For the long jumps, this amount would be quite a substantial amount (e.g. $300). Although it did not happen while I was with Sullivan Amusements, Rachel told me that it was not uncommon for drivers to disappear with the money, the first indication of which would be a telephone call from a gas station or the police reporting a 'found' truck and carnival ride on the side of the road. 82  116  Aboriginal male) The most prominent group of independents were the joint line owners who employed the joint bums. Sullivan Amusements had three main game joint lines that varied tremendously in size and quality. The most attractive joint line was owned by two men (Matt and Leo), and comprised several trailer (aluminum) joints, built on their own truck trailers, that were towed behind large pick-up trucks and vans on the jumps. These joints had electrical connections and were arrayed with lights and sound systems. Extremely profitable joints, this joint line moved out occasionally to join other large (often American) carnivals for two to three week periods. The game joint workers, numbering approximately twenty, were mostly agents (also known as "concessionaires"). The second joint line was a mediocre set of "stick joints" (wood and awning) owned by Leo's brother, Gary (mentioned above), and which stayed with Sullivan Amusements for most of its season, employing an ever-changing roster of about 15 to 20 joint bums. The third joint line was owned by Grant, who ran the Pie Car; the line itself was supervised by a foreman, Cece. This joint line was held in contempt by most of the other carnival workers, as it was made up of very old stick joints, and had cheap and tawdry "flash" and "stuffies". The 10 to 15 employees on the "Pie Car crew" (as it was known) were often quite young (14 or 15) males and females who were treated very poorly by the foreman. I was told of numerous incidents of joint bums who tried to leave in the middle of the night, aware that their status was little more than that of an indentured slave, and owing large sums of money (see "Wages" below for more details). There was a 117  constant turnover of joint bums, with the exception of the higher-status and -quality joint line whose agents had been doing the job for years and who held great professional pride in their ability to make money (see Chapter Nine for more on the joint workers). There were several types of games in Sullivan Amusements' various joint lines, most of which are mentioned in both Easto and Truzzi (1973) and Dembroski (1973). The main difference that I noticed between these renditions and my observations concerned the legitimacy of the games.  Easto and Truzzi, as well as  Dembroski, refer to the "gaffed" (rigged or fixed) character of many joints, and I found that most of the games at Sullivan Amusements were rigged. In my conversations with several joint bums and agents, I learned that, like many other aspects of the carnival, the joint owners have had to be much more vigilant (and creative!) about the rigged games in recent years due mainly to closer scrutiny by gaming officials . 83  The main job of the joint bums, upon arriving at a carnival spot, was to set up and clean their joints. Each joint line had a designated "foreman" whose job was to  0ne example of a rigged (gaffed) game was the duck pond. Customers paid $3 to 'ensnare' one of about 20 plastic ducks floating in water. All the ducks were supposed to be marked either Small, Medium or Large, indicating a corresponding "stuffie" prize, the large being the most coveted. There were no ducks marked "L", and only one or two marked "M". This was discovered by undercover R.C.M.P. officers during a large exhibition. Immediately, a form of damage control was embarked upon by the show's administration. All the ticket sellers were told very angrily by Dwight not to talk to the press if we were approached. The duck pond game was immediately shut down and other joint owners/bums were told by Sullivan management that if any of their games were rigged, they would be thrown off the lot. I inquired subtly to find out if there were any other rigged games and, although the official word was that were no more, I learned later, after gaining more trust with the joint bums and joint line foremen, that most were rigged or easily able to be rigged, as I discuss in Chapter Nine. 83  118  "flash the joints" meaning to supply each joint with the prizes, usually stuffed animals and, in the case of the "balloon stores", supplies of balloons. The foreman also was in charge of telling the workers when they could "break" (usually only half an hour in an entire twelve or thirteen hour shift), and collecting the money from the workers' aprons. Conclusion In this chapter, I have presented a largely descriptive, and by no means exhaustive, account of the those who variously owned and/or worked at Sullivan Amusements. By organizing the various groups of carnival owners and employees in rank order based on power and its resultant privilege (or the lack thereof), I have illustrated that those with the most power, which I have called the "royalty", did indeed enjoy the greatest degrees of power and, as I show in the next chapter, their economic advantage permitted them to afford the most desirable and, in many cases, luxurious accommodations. As one descended down the carnival hierarchy, however, the working conditions of the employees (particularly the ride guys and joint bums) deteriorated according to their marked lack of power in the carnival structure. This absence of personal autonomy for the carnival employees manifested itself in the almost feudal nature of the owner-worker relationship: workers were hired and fired with equal informality and adherence to convention and, indeed, law. In the next chapter, I describe other aspects of carnival life that highlight the stratified structure within which carnival inhabitants lived and worked: the living quarters and washroom facilities available, hours worked, wages earned and, finally, 119  the gendered and racialized segregation found in the carnival.  120  Joint bums' "home" (called "Auschwitz" by joint line owner)  The Royalty's homes and pickup trucks  121  Chapter 5 Cabanas, Donachers, and "Native Boys": Carnival Homes, Amenities, and the Gendered and Racialized Aspects of the Carnival Hierarchy My tent may no longer be standing (high winds). Lynn told me there was an empty truck sleeper, and to talk to Paul. Paul said sure but Bucky who was nearby said that someone's already using it, but that "Kenny's gone for a few days. His sleeper's empty". So when I left the ticket box on a break at 9:30 PM, I found it, an old GMC semi with a cabana in the back, sleeping 4 or 6 ride guys! It looked disgusting: old, filthy, small but when I crawled into bed in the tent, I said to hell with it: it was pouring, tent was leaking through the roof, wind howling. So I clambered what seemed like 300 feet up into the truck, hauling bedding, knapsack and peebowl/toilet paper. Couldn't get to sleep for ages: feeling overwhelmed, homesick for my comfy house, kids, dog. Feeling lost, lonely, dreading the eventual long drive to Manitoba. Basically wondering about my own sanity about being stuck in a stinky old truck sleeper, wondering what creepy-crawlies were going to invade my body and my bedding. Soggy tent, everything's very disorganized, can't afford a motel. And every time one of the cabana occupants got in, the whole cab shook like an earthquake. God, this is hell — how DO they stand it — how will I stand it for 2 A months? (Personal Notes 1-4) 1  Living Quarters and Accessibility to Showers/Washroom Facilities The accommodations for carnival workers were as diverse as the work and workers. The royalty lived in their own large fifth wheel trailers, pulled by very expensive current-year (1996) Dodge Ram pick-up trucks. The fifth wheel trailers had every modern convenience, including televisions, V C R ' s , microwaves, furnaces and, for some, washers and dryers. As the occupants spent eight months a year on the road, many of them lived in these year-round, parking the trailers in mobile home parks in the Vancouver area over the winter months. Others maintained homes, rented out during the carnival season, to which they returned for the winter months. Most of the independent owners, as well as one of the electricians and welder, lived in less comfortable conditions, ranging in size from small cramped  122  campers mounted on the backs of older pick-up trucks, to larger trailers towed by 10-ton trucks that usually held equipment. Again, there was a direct relationship between the longevity and, therefore, financial success of an independent and the kind of accommodation the independent was able to afford.  During an interview  with Claire, the wife of Gary (joint line owner), the graduation from smaller to larger accommodations over their three years with Sullivan Amusements was discussed: Fiona:  Your first year on the road, where did you live?  Claire:  Fiona:  We lived in a truck camper. We weren't hooked up to anything. He [Gary] started off living in it. It was temporary, just a little kind of wooden box. They called it the Hilton [she laughs]. But it was temporary. This is much nicer. How long have you been in this [trailer]?  Claire:  This is our third year (Claire 14).  All the independents had ready access to their own personal washrooms and showers in their various fifth wheels, motorhomes and trailers. In most spots, access to water taps was readily available for immediate hook-up. But even in the spots where there were no immediately accessible water taps, most of the independents were sufficiently knowledgeable of such sites, and filled their vehicles' water tanks in advance. They also brought their own generators, which they used when no electricity was available where they were loked. The accommodations provided for employees of independents varied from quite comfortable bunks in the backs of vans or trucks, to the employees simply having to fend for themselves, on the ground in old sleeping bags and, occasionally, tents if they could afford to purchase one, or inside the joints themselves.  (As most  of the employees of independents did not have immediate access to washrooms or showers, I have included the procedure that they followed at the end of this section 123  on accommodations and facilities.) Like the other independents, the joint liners' accommodations varied in relation to the quality and affluence of the joint line itself. Matt's crew, who were mainly agents, lived in the most luxurious accommodations available to carnival employees: two large mobile bunkhouses with individual rooms that had heat and electricity. There was a shower at the end of each bunkhouse, and each room in the bunkhouse contained a bed and a small dresser. The mediocre joint line employees (Gary's joint liners) slept in the backs of three five-ton trucks that also held the equipment. These living arrangements were astonishingly crude and difficult: about six people slept on slabs of plywood covered with old, dirty and worn-thin foam mattresses. They had to provide their own bedding which mostly consisted of one very worn comforter or blanket. There was no heat or light, and the trucks leaked badly in the rain. One truck had a shower that was simply a water outlet with almost no privacy and only cold water (on the rare occasions that water was actually accessible and connected): both males and females shared these living quarters.  On a stroll behind the joint line one evening, I  took photographs of the truck, in full view of Gary, who made the following comments to me about the accommodations: Fiona: Gary:  Hi, Gary. I'm just taking some photos of these... What do you call them? Bunkhouse, shower house. This is the house of the people that like world-wide adventure and money in the bank [laughing loudly]! Actually it's really Auschwitz. And we don't pay no taxes! (Gary 20)  I was quite astonished at Gary's usage of the term "Auschwitz" to describe his  124  crew's living quarters. He said it in a tone of levity and disgust, which indicated to me that he honestly felt that the accommodations were exactly what his employees deserved to live in. He quite happily agreed with my rather outspoken opinion that the living accommodations were extremely sub-standard, implying that it was the workers' own fault for creating their own vile living conditions. The Pie Car crew slept in an old blue school bus which I never saw inside, but many of the joint bums said that it was filthy and cold inside the bus, and it also leaked. There were no shower facilities for these workers and they also had to provide their own bedding. The Pie Car crew foreman, in fact, shuddered when I asked him about the interior conditions of the blue bus, declaring that he opted to living in his van, along with his girlfriend and their infant daughter, rather than endure the conditions of the bus. The ticket sellers slept in a variety of locations, mainly because most of the women were associated with one (or a series) of the male carnival workers. One seller slept in the sleeper cab of one of the large semi-trailer trucks, because she had a close friendship with the wife of the driver (one of the electricians).  Two  others shared a small wooden cabana, but routinely moved in with various male carnival workers as the season progressed. Yet another seller, picked up by the show towards the end of the season, slept on top of a freezer in the back of a fiveton truck. Although I was promised a "cabana" by the owners at the beginning of the research, I spent most of the season sleeping in my six-foot-wide dome tent and using my car (a Suzuki Samurai) as my own "fifth wheel" as I jokingly called it. After the flooding tent episode (which resulted in me sleeping in a filthy truck 125  cab for two nights) in early July, I decided to be more aggressive in finding more suitable tent-sites. Instead of getting direction from Gary (the official loker), I would scope out each lot and find the most quiet and sheltered area to pitch my tent. I found that the 'best' tent spots were near the small corral set up by the husbandand-wife couple who had the pony rides. They needed a quiet spot for their animals, so, with their permission, I was able to set up camp in (usually) grassy, quiet areas. I eventually obtained a cabana in the "floss truck" (the five-ton truck used to pull a candy floss/candy apple joint owned by Paul and Rachel), which did have a hand-made wooden bunk and was, at least, dry. I did learn, at the end of the season, that I could have had a cabana to myself much earlier if I had known whom to ask, who turned out to be the foreman of the kiddy rides, but I learned this information too late . I was also offered a bunk in one of the cabanas shared by 84  two other ticket sellers but I declined as I enjoyed my independence, and I did not engage in the lifestyle of the other females (excessive drug and alcohol consumption and frequent sexual relations with male carnival workers and locals).  This was another example of the informal and, frequently, illogical (to me) methods by which knowledge was passed around the carnival. It was apparently quite common knowledge that Pete was the person with whom to speak regarding available beds in the carnival but no one had told me. I found out much later that the reason I was not told this was because rumour had it that I had been offered a truck trailer but had turned it down. I was, therefore, not told of any more available cabanas. I did prefer my tent, as it provided much more autonomy and independence. However, as the season progressed and the nights became very cold, I became quite anxious for dry and warm(er) 'lodgings'. I found, though, that, once I moved into the floss truck cabana, I lost much of my independence, as I kept my belongings in the cabana on the jumps and had to largely go where the truck went. In fact, I had many interesting experiences of waking up in the floss truck cabana on the first day after a jump, to find the truck moving, driving through the carnival lot, on its way to its final loke, disconcerting, to say the least, the first time it happened! 84  126  The ride guys slept mostly in hand-built rugged wooden or metal cabanas that were constructed behind the cabs of the semi-trailer trucks that pulled the rides. Not hooked up to heat or water, the cabanas were hand-made and were extremely primitive. They were nothing more than 6 foot by 6 foot boxes, with six wooden 'shelves' which served as beds. The ride guys kept their clothes in green garbage bags, as there was no storage of any kind. Only the truck drivers (most of whom were also ride guys) were permitted to sleep in the truck cabs; the truck drivers were a valued commodity to the carnival owners and were, therefore, given this privilege. The ride guys, ticket sellers and employees of independents (including most joint liners) did not have readily accessible showers and washroom facilities. Several ride guys told me that there was something vaguely resembling a shower at the back of one of the trucks but that it was so filthy that people rarely used it. One of the first endeavours for the carnival workers at any new carnival spot was to locate the nearest showers, knowledge that was usually gained by inquiring with the carnival veterans who knew the route and its facilities. The available facilities ranged widely in both quality and proximity to the carnival lot. If the carnival was playing at a rural fair, the nearest showers were usually in a cowbarn, often at quite a distance from the lot. When the carnival played at shopping malls, showers were almost completely inaccessible to most of the employees who had no transportation. As one of the few employees with a vehicle, I was often able to leave the lot and drive to a nearby public swimming pool, hockey arena or truck stop to find a 127  shower . 85  Bathrooms (toilets ) were often equally as difficult to access (or stomach!). 86  At most of the carnival spots there were portable toilets but, by about the second day, they were almost unbearably smelly and dirty (and I quickly learned to always pack around my own supply of toilet paper!).  At some of the mall locations, there  were no portapotties, as the public was expected to use the indoor mall facilities. This proved to be a real difficulty when the mall did not open until 9:30 A . M . and was closed by 9:00 P.M.  My first experience with this was at the mall where my tent  flooded. I awoke on my first morning there not only surrounded in water but also desperate for a bathroom. Out of sheer necessity, I had to use a plastic bag, muttering to myself about the depths one must go all in the name of research! I dealt with the problem by purchasing a bowl with a plastic lid as my own personal toilet, hardly hygienic but better than a plastic bag. I observed that other carnival workers simply relieved themselves in the dark behind rides and games, there being nothing  0ne way I learned to gauge my degree of immersion into the carnival culture (which meant, to a large extent, becoming less connected to mainstream social rules) was my evolving attitudes towards nudity in the often cubicle-free showers at swimming pools. The first time I learned that these were the only accessible showers, I arrived at the public pool and saw with dismay the lack of privacy. Fortunately, I had my swimsuit in a box in my car, so I ran out, retrieved it, and put it on to have my shower (an exceedingly difficult task to get properly clean while wearing a swimsuit!). About three weeks later, we were at another spot where the public pools were the only available showers. When I got to the facility, I realized I had forgotten my swimsuit, but did have the shower anyway, feeling horribly exposed and embarrassed in front of the many other women and small children. Two weeks after that, in my third experience, I did not even care whether I had my swimsuit or not. I boldly stripped in front of a roomful of people, more interested in getting thoroughly clean than revealing my body to strangers. 85  The slang carnival term, used only by long-time Sullivan Amusements personnel, for toilet was "donacher". 86  128  else available . Workers' Wages Wages  88  were relatively standard throughout the carnival: $350/week for most  workers , with the exception of the joint workers who were paid on a percentage 89  basis, a process that I describe later in this section. Ride guys who held Class One Driver's Licences and drove the trucks that carried rides earned $400 a week, with one veteran driver earning $450.  This wage appeared to have remained the same  for many, many years, according to one of the "lifers" (seasoned ride guys). I did not learn how much the electricians were paid, but the welder, Scott, told me he earned $550 a week and made even more money 'on the side' by doing jobs for the carnival royalty and independents on their private vehicles and equipment. Ticket sellers at Sullivan Amusements were also paid $350.00 a week but had the added "bonus" of being allowed to keep what are called "walkaways", which  lt was also the case that many malls did not permit entry to the ride guys and joint bums because, according to Jim (ride guy), during a teardown, a joint bum went into a mall, lay down on a sofa in a furniture store and went to sleep. Carnival workers were also banned from some laundromats because a joint bum climbed into a dryer in a laundromat and had a spin. In many instances, though, according to Jim, malls simply consider ride guys and joint bums "too dirty"; this rule is enforced by Sullivan Amusements bosses who exact punishment if any worker is found 'trespassing' in forbidden malls and laundromats. 87  As a comparison, I offer the following figures (in U.S. dollars) given to me by the Lot Superintendent of the North Dakota carnival: Novice ride guys (called "roughies" in American carnivals) receive $250/week; Veteran Ride Foremen receive $800/week; and Ticket Sellers are paid $175/week. I was given conflicting information on the salaries paid by other British Columbia carnivals: some people told me they paid less than Sullivan Amusements; others insisted they paid the same or slightly more. 88  lt is important to point out that, although $1400 a month may seem like a fair and reasonable wage, nearly all carnival employees worked at least 14 hours a day, seven days a week, with no days off at all for the full eight months, and with no scheduled coffee or meal breaks. Their hourly wage, consequently, worked out to less than $4.00 per hour. 89  129  referred to change not picked up by customers when they bought their ride tickets. I was told by one of the ticket sellers with several years' experience that there are many gaffs worked by ticket sellers to cheat customers, from lying about the price of tickets, to hiding the change under the book of tickets. Our instructions were to always give the customer the tickets or ticket books first, followed by the change, ostensibly to ensure that the money was received before handing out the tickets. Very frequently, however, as soon as tickets were handed to a customer, the customer (especially a young, eager child) would run away. We were not permitted to leave our ticket boxes, and the noise of the midway covered up any futile yells to bring the customer back. We simply kept a pile of walkaway money beside us and if, by the end of the evening, the customer had not returned for his/her change, it was ours to keep . 90  All the waged carnival workers were given the option of having E.I. deductions taken off their wages (also always paid in cash) in the form of a flat $50 every two weeks, or receiving the full amount, thereby not being able to collect E.I. Most workers opted for the latter because, even if the full number of weeks were worked to collect E.I., there was a delay of approximately six weeks before the E.I. checks began, and the new season is only a few weeks away. When I asked Jack,  lnterestingly, I often made quite large sums of money on walkaways, and the general consensus was that this was due to the fact that I looked so "respectable" and, therefore, honest and trustworthy. At the most lucrative spot that the carnival played, where I sold $21,000 in tickets in one day alone, I made $250 a day in walkaways for the days we were at the spot. The largest single walkaway I received was $50, when an extremely inebriated adult male gave me $100 to purchase a large amount of tickets, and walked off into the crowds before I could give him the remainder of his change. 90  130  a ride guy, if he supported himself during the off-season with E.I., he responded with the following which was typical of most carnival workers' opinions regarding E.I.: Yeah, UIC, if I'm not working, but they call us chronic abusers of the UIC system 'cause we're only seasonal workers. You're only working eight months out of the year and then by the time I argue with them about getting my claim, it's time to go back to work again (Jack 1). Most of the carnival workers chose to be paid daily, in the form of drags. They were permitted a maximum of $30 each day that the show was open, with an increase of $45 for a two-day jump to the next spot. If a worker needed to buy shoes or clothing, or needed money to pay for a medicine prescription, they were allowed to drag that amount also. Most of the workers lived, quite literally, from day to day — by the end of the actual pay period, their entire wages had already been given out in the form of the daily drags, given that most of them earned only $350/week. In fact, Rachel told me that I was the only carnival worker who actually received full wages every two weeks. Very few carnival workers ever left at the end of the season with any savings, and so most had to survive on Social Assistance during the winter months. Sullivan Amusements also had an informal "bonus" system which was simply a way to try to keep workers until the end of the season. During the season that I was with the show, only two workers received a bonus at the end of the year , and many of the 91  The year that I was with Sullivan Amusements was the worst, according to Ron Sullivan, in terms of weather and, therefore, revenue, that the carnival had ever experienced. Almost incessant rain, winds and very cold temperatures resulted in a higherthan-normal employee turnover. Many workers who ordinarily worked the entire season quit, either permanently or temporarily, thereby losing any chance at receiving their bonus. 9l  131  workers were very angry, especially when the owner's son (Paul) brought a brandnew car onto the lot at the final spot and presented it to Rachel as a gift. Jack, one of the two who received the bonus, informed me that his bonus was usually $1500, but that the normal amount was around $500 or $600. However, "[Sullivan] really likes me and I've been with them for so long, he still takes care of me bonus-wise" (Jack 1), an illustration of one of the forms of patronage by the carnival owners towards the more valued employees. The joint liners were paid strictly by commission. They received "points" (percentage), usually 20% or 25% of what they took from the mooches. In the case of the second joint line, the owner, Gary, withheld 5% of their wages that was meant to be paid to them at the end of the season, as an incentive to stay. But, as I have already stated, during the season that I was with the carnival, the weather was consistently so poor, that often little or no money was made by the workers. In this case, the workers were allegedly "fronted" $10 a day to buy food, but this money was deducted from any money that they did earn. However, I also learned that the $10/day was conditional upon earning a minimal amount of money. Albert, a joint foreman, recounted how arbitrary the drags and wages for joint workers actually were: Albert:  Fiona: Albert:  Gary doesn't really put 5% on hold. He just kind of gives you, depending on how good you are, he gives you a daily drag, of $10 or $15, whether you're open or not. And any money you do make is just all put on hold. And then you get your daily drags. If you owe him money, then it's taken off. If not, it just keeps adding on and adding on. And how many points do Gary's workers get? It can vary from 15% to 20%, depending on how good you are. If you're really experienced, then he has to pay you the 25% 132  Fiona: Albert:  Fiona: Albert:  Fiona: Albert:  Fiona: Albert: Fiona:  Albert:  and some guys even get 30%. So this money is held? For those guys who are getting the higher percentage, they get paid every day. They get their whole end. They know better. It's the guys who come out that have no idea what's going on. They don't do that. These are the ones that are exploited. Yeah. And the [other crew] is worse than [joint owner] is, because you have to put $100 in your apron to get a $10 a day drag on the days you're open. On the days you're not open, you just get a small drag. So what if you don't make $100? Then you don't get a drag. Nothing. But the other thing is, you work a whole spot, and you might make, say $300, your end [meaning your percentage], for the whole spot. You don't see that until possibly half way through or the end of the next spot. That's where you might survive, 'cause you're getting your pay so that the days you're not open, you've got money to live off of. But would it be fair to say it's fairly arbitrary when you got this money? Like, it's not like clockwork, every two weeks. No, it's not like clockwork at all. It's whenever he decides, whenever he feels like it. OK. Now we were talking yesterday about this real ripoff activity that goes on at the end of the year, when people think, especially the more naive ones, that they've got hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars saved up, and then are presented with nothing? Presented with maybe a couple of hundred, or a hundred, when they expected to get a thousand [dollars]. Then all of a sudden the boss comes up to them and says, well, we had to pay your taxes for the whole season, and that was $900 and you owe me for this and that. All of a sudden, all these little things come up, and it's all just bullshit. It's just a way to save paying out so much money. It's a kind of con practice in the carnival business. Some of the bosses do that. They try to get everything they can get out of a person and give as little back as they have to (Albert 11-12).  No records were ever kept, and the joint bums were not allowed to count the money in their aprons, which was collected several times a day/night. Most of the joint bums on the second and third joint lines in fact owed several hundred dollars to their  133  employers by the mid-point of the season . 92  Sometimes these workers would be "loaned out" to work at another ride or food joint, with an informal arrangement between both employers that any money earned would be returned to the first employer to pay off their debts . Very few of 93  these workers even finished the entire season, with the exception of the top joint line which hired mainly agents who were highly skilled at making money and, as a result, were treated much better than the workers described by Albert above. The "wages" for the members of royalty (and independents ) were not made 94  known to me. As already stated in the previous chapter, the independents paid a percentage to Sullivan Amusements: the remainder was theirs to keep. I was told that the employees of the independents received the same wage as other carnival workers: $350 a week.  ln August 1999, I was told by a reliable carnival source that two of Gary's joint bums officially complained to the Labour Relations Board over his advancement of monies to them, and then holding it over their heads to try and exact payment. The L.R.B. ruled that the money was given voluntarily by Gary and that he could not force them to repay it; Gary was ordered to pay these employees a sum of money. My source told me that Gary was quite shaken that someone would go to the authorities. These two people continued to work at the carnival, but only for a short time as Gary made conditions very difficult for them, and they were ostracized by the other carnival workers. 92  0ne of the ticket sellers with whom I was often paired was actually "owned" by one of the joint lines. Rachel decided the show needed another seller and so she made a deal with the joint line owner to "borrow" the worker; the joint line owner agreed on the condition that he could "pull her" any time he wished to "break" his other workers. At many of the busy spots, she worked continuously, back and forth between the ticket box and various game joints, with no time for food or bathroom breaks. 93  Unofficially, I was told by Chuck, an independent who owned a novelty joint and was a close friend of Ron Sullivan, that the independent ride owners and joint line owners would earn a profit of $30,000 to $40,000 over the season, while he expected to finish the season with about $5000 (Chuck 20). 94  134  As for the royalty themselves, I do not know if they drew a wage per se. There is no question that the income from the rides and games was enormous. A s previously mentioned, on one particular day, I personally sold $21,000 worth of tickets and there were a total of four ticket sellers that day.  Another indication of  the royalty's income was the fact that the floss joint bought by Paul and Rachel was paid off in one season: the purchase price was $100,000. And judging by the sumptuous fifth wheel trailers, brand new pickup trucks, Caribbean cruises taken by the royalty in the fall, and expensive clothing and jewellery, I can only assume that their personal incomes were quite generous . 95  Gender and Ethnicity Throughout this chapter, I have made it quite evident that, with the exception of Lynn and Rachel, the carnival was largely run and operated by men. All the jobs in the carnival were highly gendered, meaning that one or the other gender was considered appropriate for most jobs.  The only jobs considered to be appropriate  for women were ticket selling, working in the floss and other food joints, and the office. There were some men who worked in the food joints, but the majority were female. In the game joints, men were the preferred gender, although approximately one quarter of all joint bums were female, which I explore more fully in Chapter  An illustration of the amount of money taken in by a carnival is the following information given to me by a veteran joint line supervisor. He told me that another western Canadian carnival (larger than Sullivan Amusements) began the 1996 season $2 million in debt, and had the debt fully paid off in four spots, which gives an indication of the income generated (Cece 15). 95  135  Nine. However, a general trend that I located was the avenue by which females entered the carnival. Most of the women and girls entered the carnival by way of an attachment to a male carnival worker, who would then make inquiries as to where a "hole" (job vacancy) might exist in a game or food joint. However, these efforts were often thwarted if the carnival bosses decided they wanted to fire the male employee: the following is an extract from my notes during the carnival pre-season (February to mid-April) where Sullivan Amusements hired and fired in rapid succession as they attempted to build a workforce "for the road": This is the final spot before eight weeks on [area in British Columbia]. Rachel said five guys will be pink-slipped after teardown; they need them for teardown, of course — imagine being fired at 5 AM, after putting in a 17-hour day! Speculation among the guys: who will go? One is the guy on the Zipper [large adult ride]: surly, demanded his girlfriend get work, so says Rachel. Rachel said she [Rachel] went to all the food and novelty joints and told them not to hire her. Cynthia [other ticket seller] said this is normal. They weed out guys at this point in the year, pick more guys [over the next 8 weeks], lose even more [over that same time period] and have the crew finalized by the end [of the 8 weeks] who will, hopefully, stay with them all the rest of the season (Personal Notes, p. 7). This strategy of banning independents from hiring female employees in order to ensure the disappearance of fired male workers was a common occurrence and demonstrates the power that the senior Sullivan Amusements personnel had over the independents and who they could or could not hire. With regard to race, almost all Sullivan Amusements owners and workers were White, the only non-White workers being Aboriginal or Metis with no other racial groups represented.  I observed racial segregation: nearly all the Aboriginal  or Metis workers were ride guys (males) and one ticket seller was an Aboriginal 136  female. About half-way through the season, her two sons (Metis) joined the carnival when it played in their hometown, with one working as a Kiddy Land ride guy and the other as a joint bum. It is difficult to give precise numbers of Aboriginal and Metis workers for two reasons. The first was the transience of workers in and out of the carnival, and Rachel kept no official records of employees (that one would almost certainly find in more conventional work locations). Ride guys tended to move among the rides quite regularly, the most common reason being that someone had quit or been fired (or simply vanished for a week or two) and the bosses needed to accommodate their absence. Workers were listed by first name only on a sheet of paper (handwritten) in the office, grouped according to the ride they worked on, or their particular job (e.g. ticket sellers). This was to keep a running tab of their daily drags in order to ascertain their wage (if any) at the two-week pay periods. However, from my observations, I found that the two major rides (the Sky Diver and the Gravitron), which were also considered the most prestigious rides to work on, had crews almost completely comprised of Aboriginal and Metis men. Other Aboriginal and Metis men worked alongside White men at other rides, and approximately half the Kiddy Land ride guys were young Aboriginal and Metis men. But this segregation was not racially-based. Rather, the ride guy job progression was that, in most cases, ride guys began work on the smaller Kiddy Land rides, and then moved over as vacancies occurred onto the larger rides. Given that the Aboriginal and Metis men had the longest work histories with Sullivan Amusements, they also experienced the most upward job mobility in ride guy work (which certainly gave them higher status in 137  the ride guy hierarchy but no concomitant wage increase). The other difficulty in offering precise numbers of non-White ride guys was that many of the Metis did not appear to be Aboriginal at all, and I only discovered their racially-mixed status through interviews and casual conversations with them.  A very rough estimate of  the numbers of Aboriginal and Metis ride guys, based on my observations and interviews, would be 25 or 30, out of a total ride guy work force of approximately 50 men . 96  Although during my eight months with Sullivan Amusements, I did not observe, nor was I told about, any form of racial discrimination, Aboriginal and Metis men were considered to be ideal workers, illustrated in the following comment by John, the Lot Superintendent who hired and fired most of the ride guys: A lot of native boys out here, it's discrimination I would say, but most of these native boys out here I would take them and work with them any time... Their loyalty is good. [I then make a comment about discrimination against aboriginals in the general labour market.] Metis, it's worse, yeah (John 24). Most of the Aboriginal or Metis men were originally hired in the north-eastern Manitoba area (Cree) where Sullivan Amusements' circuit used to extend in past years, and had been with the carnival for several years. I spoke to many carnival workers about the issue of race, and all declared a complete lack of prejudice (not surprisingly, of course). With such a relatively homogeneous ethnic group in the carnival, I did not have any opportunities to  The significance of this proportion of Aboriginal and Metis men becomes even more pronounced in light of the fact that only 2.8% of the Canadian population (in 1996) was Aboriginal or Metis (Statistics Canada 1998). 96  138  observe behaviour that might have contradicted their spoken words. I did speak to many of the Metis and Aboriginal workers about whether they felt they experienced any discrimination in the carnival and most of them expressed relief that they had found work at all, declaring that Sullivan Amusements was one of the few places that would hire them. Arty, a Metis Kiddyland ride guy, mentioned his experiences of job discrimination in our interview: Fiona: Arty:  Fiona: Arty: Fiona: Arty:  Why do you think there are so many natives working in the carnival? Well, Metis, they have it rough. We don't have our treaty rights, but we're fighting for them, and maybe one day we'll get it. Right now, there's a law, well, it's not a law yet, but I think there's $56 million set aside for the Metis to get our land, our hunting rights. So am I correct in understanding that there's not a lot of jobs available for Metis? Right! There's a lot of discrimination? Lots. And the carnival is one place where we can find work (Arty 14).  Workers' ethnicity in the carnival, like many other personal characteristics, was deemed largely irrelevant to the social relationships amongst the workers themselves. Due to the rigidly nepotistic system of privilege and upward mobility in the carnival, it would be highly unlikely for any of the Aboriginal or Metis workers to have achieved more prestigious positions (other than working on the largest carnival rides). However, the limited employment opportunities had little to do with racism, as such, as all workers, unless related to or in a romantic/sexual relationship with, a member of the incumbent carnival royalty, had equally as limited chances for upward mobility. Of more significance was the willingness and ability to work hard under very difficult conditions, qualities of protest masculinity that appeared to be 139  even more pronounced among the Aboriginal and Metis male workers (who were almost all extreme drug and alcohol users), explanations for which were found in many of their fractious life histories of violence, dysfunctional family backgrounds and substance abuse.  However, at the risk of reifying this racialized aspect of a 97  particular group of workers, I need to point out that all the most dedicated carnival workers (especially the ride guys) had similar backgrounds, regardless of race.  The  main distinction between White and Aboriginal/Metis workers was that the latter group tended to remain with the carnival for longer periods, and their accumulated knowledge of carnival rides placed them in positions of higher value by the carnival bosses, who frequently overlooked their occasional short-term disappearances (which were often to attend court elsewhere). Regarding the absence of Aboriginal and Metis joint bums (other than the one mentioned above), the only explanation that I can offer is that hard, physical labour (e.g. ride guy work) was the kind of work that they appeared to seek. None of the ride guys (regardless of race) had any interest whatsoever in working in the joints, citing that they preferred the heavy manual labour involved in ride guy work. Another factor concerned age: most joint bums were much younger than the ride guys (other than the Kiddy Land ride guys).  Joint bums tended to be young males  and females aged 14 through to about 20, with little or no previous job experience, whereas ride guys were more likely to be men in their mid to late 20's through to their late 40's, with many years of experience in either a carnival or other (non-  See Chapter Six for further discussion on race and racialization. 140  credentialed) m a n u a l labour jobs (e.g. truck driver, construction, factory work, farming) that provided them with technical knowledge easily adapted to carnival work. Conclusion A s the a b o v e description of owners' and workers' a c c o m m o d a t i o n s and w a g e structures demonstrates, Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s is a w o r k p l a c e (and living place) characterized by s o c i a l a n d e c o n o m i c relations b a s e d largely on differential d e g r e e s of material ownership a n d familial connection. I have s h o w n that the disparities between the carnival owners a n d carnival workers were entrenched in a s y s t e m that clearly served to benefit the owners monetarily. In the concluding chapter of this thesis, I d i s c u s s the rapidly changing social and e c o n o m i c environment for carnivals and its implications for Sullivan A m u s e m e n t s , all of which m a y force the carnival to improve the living conditions for their workers, if the s h o w survives economically. In Part II of this thesis, I begin with a d i s c u s s i o n of masculinities, in particular, the role of protest masculinity in sustaining and perpetuating the work a n d social relations that u n d e r s c o r e d the workers' subjective understandings of their e x p e r i e n c e s . T h e remainder of Part II e x a m i n e s s o m e of the key substantive e l e m e n t s of protest masculinity that intertwine with i s s u e s of race, c l a s s and gender.  141  Gravitron ride guys (man on right is author of Lot Call poem at the end of this thesis)  Part II Chapter 6 Dee-Effers, Lifers, Lot Lice and Princesses : Theorizing Working Class Masculinity 98  We're all outcasts from society. Society doesn't want us. Most of us wouldn't be able to hold down a job without the carnival. I mean, hell, if they ever had mandatory drug testing in Canada, we'd all be hooped! Everybody does drugs out on the carnival. I can think of two that I know of that don't do drugs. That's it. Here there are no risks. It's a place for outcasts to come when you got no place else to go. A lot of the workers, they live at Winter Quarters at the end of the season. They have no place else to go. This is their home, their family. You could probably correspond a lot of the brotherhood and the camaraderie in the carnival to say a biker gang, where all the bros are looking out for one another. They'll squabble and fight amongst themselves, but fuck with us and we'll all band together and fuck you over big time (Cece 34-20). Introduction: In C h a p t e r O n e , I stated that, for the first couple of d a y s , I felt a s e n s e of discomfort a n d alienation from the other workers, which I attributed to my strong personal r e s p o n s e of feeling s o m e h o w very different from e v e r y o n e else. I had  T h e s e terms refer to the continua of values inherent in the masculinities and femininities assigned to workers in Sullivan Amusements. The first pair (used to describe male workers) denotes the commitment to work that is attached to all male workers: "deeeffers" (short for "dogfuckers") were workers deemed to be lazy, whereas "lifers" were men who had worked for many years in the carnival and were considered reliable and dedicated. "Lot lice" (or "lot lizards") were females who entered the carnival via an attachment (usually informal, sexual and not long-lasting) to a male worker. "Princess" had two inter-connected meanings, discernible by the tone of voice of the user. A s a compliment, "princess" was a term of respect for a woman who held high status in the carnival, and who displayed and received overall respect (I was called "Princess" on several occasions in this manner). "Princess" spoken with sarcasm ("Yeah, she thinks she's a real princess now!") was an epithet applied to women who 'put on airs' and disassociated themselves from the other workers, a situation which often occurred (albeit temporarily after she would be soundly told off by other female carnival workers) when a female began a sexual/romantic relationship with a male worker of a status higher than that of most of the workers. Male values were work-related; female values were based on a combination of sexuality and display of appropriate class-based behaviour. 98  143  c o m e immediately from the university environment, where my gender, race, c l a s s a n d s e x u a l orientation were never i s s u e s of c o n c e r n for m e personally. This is not to ignore i s s u e s of s y s t e m i c discrimination in terms of hiring, promotion a n d other lived realities of g e n d e r and race bias s u c h a s h o m o p h o b i a a n d racism for m a n y students a n d faculty w h o d o not conform to the expectations of the university culture. But on a lived, day-to-day basis, my being W h i t e , f e m a l e , heterosexual a n d of a s o c i a l c l a s s that vacillated between working- and m i d d l e - c l a s s were, for the most part, rarely scrutinized a n d reified a n d , a s a result, mostly inconsequential to how I b e h a v e d a s an individual and interacted with my peers a n d faculty. It w a s something of a shock, therefore, to e x p e r i e n c e s u c h a d e g r e e of difference that extended beyond just feeling 'too c l e a n ' in c o m p a r i s o n with the other carnival workers. Instead of the overall s e n s a t i o n of androgyny that I felt at the university, I realized I w a s experiencing a strong s e n s e of being female.  By this, I  m e a n I b e c a m e very a w a r e of my body, how I w a s d r e s s e d , a n d whether or not I "looked attractive". T h i s certainly w a s not a new s e n s a t i o n for m e . It w a s highly reminiscent of my y e a r s of employment in, mainly, W h i t e m a l e - d o m i n a t e d w o r k p l a c e s where e v e r y o n e w a s e m p l o y e d in rigidly g e n d e r e d a n d racialized jobs. But my y e a r s at university h a d , in m a n y w a y s , laid dormant m u c h of the workingc l a s s social rules a n d behaviours that had b e e n my e x p e r i e n c e a n d practice for s o m a n y years. However, I w a s able to draw easily upon the knowledge of past e x p e r i e n c e to participate in the s o c i a l relations of where I had found m y s e l f — in a work environment w h e r e gender, in particular, w a s a profound organizing agent of not 144  only work but, more significantly, everyday social interactions between and among all levels of workers. As the days passed at my first carnival spot, the marginalization I initially experienced began to slip away. In retrospect, I realized that my being accepted into the carnival culture (and really feeling that acceptance) was founded upon those four very important criteria mentioned above: race, class, gender and sexual orientation. If I had been Indo- or Asian-Canadian, I doubt that I would have been accepted so readily, given that the majority of the workers and owners were White. White was considered the norm, although First Nations people were also considered culturally acceptable personnel as well, a point explored in Chapter Five. The main initial barrier to my being accepted was my social class. I went into the first carnival spot looking and feeling decidedly middle-class. I spoke to people the same way that I would at the university or in any new social situation. I introduced myself by extending my hand, smiled politely if reservedly, and felt myself walking rather self-consciously, under the gaze of the other carnival workers. The comment from the carnival worker that I looked like a mother (mentioned in Chapter One) summed up how I was first perceived: wholesome, rather asexual, and, above all, respectable. It was only after I had been befriended by Jim, also mentioned in Chapter One, that my 'mother-ness' disappeared and, with it, the label of sexual neutrality. Intertwined with my social class was my sex, out of which flowed (to the workers) my perceived gender and sexual orientation. With the social and gender classification of "mother" comes an implicit designation of heterosexual. I am, 145  indeed, heterosexual (and a mother) but the workers did not know this. Nonetheless, I was treated as if I were a heterosexual woman by the mostly male carnivals workers (wolf whistles, requests for dates, compliments about my body, queries about whether I had a 'boyfriend'). I never responded to any of these sexual overtures with horror or disgust. They were only rarely extended in a manner that I found offensive. I was in familiar terrain. This was no different than working in a pulp mill or a police station or a fire department". And, of course, the "sociologist" in me was operating side-by-side with the now rapidly-resuscitated "working-class White female". Over those first few days, I did wonder on several occasions how I might have felt if I had been homosexual. Would I have been offended by the comments and open stares of appreciation by the male workers? How would I have coped with the flirtations? Would a homosexual researcher have had to play the role of "being heterosexual" in order to be accepted? And, finally, if I were male, would this have impeded or accelerated my acceptance into the carnival culture? Fundamental to all these early experiences in the carnival was my growing awareness that being a heterosexual,  White female mattered, in a very real way,  regarding how I was treated and how I was expected to behave.  Equally as  important was that my Whiteness and my ability to draw upon my pink-collar  "My 'acceptance' of the flirtations by the male carnival workers needs to be understood in the context of a working-class culture, where flirting with the opposite sex is an integral part of the highly gendered social culture and communications system therein; men and women both flirt with each other. Other than at the very beginning of my entry into the carnival, I knew all the workers and interpreted their sexualized compliments as an indication of my acceptance. I frequently pondered the social construction of flirting as communication (vs flirting as sexual harassment), mentally visualizing how I might react if a stranger, graduate student or faculty member said the same thing to me in the halls of the university — horror and outrage! 146  experiences of working with, and often for, blue-collar men were crucial to my behaviour and ultimate acceptance into the carnival culture. The aforementioned description of my emotions, experiences and questions sets the tone for the remainder of this chapter, in which I explore the concept of masculinities, as masculinist practices and beliefs pervaded the carnival, sustaining and perpetuating the way that the workers and owners (both male and female) perceived their work, their social interactions and their very reasons for working in the carnival. I hasten to add, however, that it is not the construct of masculinity, and its various forms, alone that created the structural, political and social relations of the carnival. Femininity was also a critical element that helped to sustain the masculinist practices and will also be discussed. Before I begin to unpack the various and intertwined concepts of gender, race and class, however, I need to declare that I had great difficulty finding relevant studies that exactly replicated my findings, especially with regard to social relations among and between working-class men and women. Most of the existing studies focus on the work place which is, indeed, a fertile and practical location to observe working-class relations and the dynamics of gender, race and class enmeshed therein. After much angst, and laborious ploughing through the library, I realized that the reason for not being able to locate any studies with findings/analyses that matched my observations directly was that the carnival was, indeed, a most unique environment. It was a work place;  however, to the workers themselves, the work  itself was secondary to the social place that it provided for them. The crucial difference was that most non-carnival workers go home at the 147  end of the day. There is a clear physical separation between the work and home. But in the carnival, there was no such separation — physically, temporally, or socially. Almost twenty-four hours a day/night, seven days a week, for eight months of the year, they were constantly "carnies". Being a "carny" meant much more than being a waitress, or a firefighter, or retail clerk, or assembly-line worker for a limited number of hours a day. The nomenclature of "carny" denoted a totality of experience and identity, found only rarely in other occupations, such as the military, isolated logging camps or cruise ships. The other key distinction was that the carnival workers, despite the deplorable working conditions, did not consider their work to be an undue hardship, reflecting the pragmatism frequently found in working-class culture (Seccombe and Livingstone 1996:180). My interviews with the 35 workers, along with the numerous informal conversations I had with them and many others, showed that the work conditions were treated in a very taken-for-granted kind of way. They rarely resisted the bosses' manifestos of long hours, very difficult working and living conditions, low pay, lack of healthy food, no real time off, and verbal and physical treatment that was frequently very abusive. This is not to say that they accepted these conditions stoically or philosophically without complaint. Indeed, they frequently complained but, somehow, the ire was remarkably short-lived and rarely directed at the carnival owners. Their subjective interpretation of events and conditions was that this was simply the way the world operated. In every discussion/interview I had with the carnival workers where I asked what they liked the most and the least about the 148  carnival, the response was always the same. They most enjoyed the camaraderie and sense of family that they found in the carnival ; first on everyone's list of 100  "dislikes" were the lack of showers and generally tough living and working conditions. But they always added a caveat that the difficulties were far outweighed by the benefits. Those who did not like the conditions simply quit or were fired . 101  Therefore, the position that much of the working-class culture is formed in terms of resistance to administrative or managerial staff (i.e. those with power) simply did not fit in the carnival. What I did find, however, was much evidence of an overall disgust for the general public, as if they, rather than the carnival owners, were the ones to be disdained. Yet this attitude had nothing to do with envy for the general populace who appeared to have more social and financial capital at their disposal. The disdain was grounded in a sentiment of stupidity directed at the customers and their willingness to part with their money. The derision was also a response to the "softness" seen as inherent in people who were clean, tidy and well-nourished, yet another manifestation of the (mainly masculinist) working-class ethic that a person's real worth lies in their ability to "take it", a theme explored later in this thesis. Despite the lack of studies that directly corroborate my findings as a totality, I  The second most enjoyable aspect of the carnival for those interviewed was always the travelling and "seeing the country" which I privately found to be quite ironic: most of the carnival jumps took place in the pitch dark of night-time, and the routes were invariably over back roads and secondary highways in order for the trucks to avoid having to go to government weigh scale stations (the trucks were always well over the legal weight limitations). Additionally, many of the workers travelled in the backs of trucks or vans and did not even have the opportunity to "see the country" whether it was night or day. 100  101  In Chapter Seven I explore this further. 149  did find it most useful to re-visit Bob Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity, as nearly all studies that focus on the salience of masculinities use as their starting point Connell's (1987 and 1995) works, and most contemporary gender scholars generally agree that his concepts on gender are both inclusive and theoretically sound. I begin with a discussion of the usefulness of feminist theorizing in a study of cultural practices such as this. I then explore the issue of hegemonic masculinity, first, as an analytical concept and, secondly, as it is formed in the carnival. Building from this, I look at a particular form of working-class masculinity — protest masculinity — and how it manifested itself in the work and social lives of the carnival workers. Included in all these analyses are the concepts of race, class, femininity, homosexuality and homophobia, which run through and shape the various renditions of masculinity. In the rest of this chapter, then, I explore each of these areas, pointing out the locations where my findings depart from those of others, and where they converge. Feminist Theorizing of Working-Class Culture The inclusion of gender in cultural studies has been a relatively recent development in social science, specifically those that move away from the historically dominant practice of either androgyny (found most commonly in positivist accounts) or essentialism, which dichotomizes men and women as polar opposites both conceptually and empirically. Positivist studies also simply bifurcate the categories of men and women into useful statistical cohorts, and the problem with both essentialist and positivist accounts is that they do not recognize the distinction  150  between sex and gender, what Munt bluntly refers to as "the enduring glue of gender to genitals" (Munt 2000:87). Flowing out of the fusion of sex and gender, and binary reductionism, is the inability to accommodate or even acknowledge the multiplicities of gender; in other words, to recognize that men and women rarely display such discrete attributes that are socially defined as either 'masculine' or feminine' (Connell 1995; Cheng 1999b; Halberstam 1998 ). 102  It is certainly useful to study gender as a conceptually  distinct entity (just as  one might study social class and race), but none of these phenomena exists external to the individual, and they certainly do not exist as separate entities in actual social practice. Gender, race and class create social practice, and social practice in turn reinforces the salience of these elements primarily in the realm of relations of power. To properly understand how gender works in organizing people's social action and interaction, a paradigm that is able to capture all of the various elements — gender, race, class, power, and social practice — is needed. Feminist research offers the most useful framework for investigating such practices as it recognizes the variety and inter-connections between race, class and gender. Furthermore, it places these relations in historical and social conditions, showing that people construct gender, race and class in particular social situations, over both time and place (Archetti 1999; Connell 1995; Vale de Almeida 1996). Rather than searching for a grand theory that attempts to account for social behaviour displayed by men and women (and, logically, therefore ignoring the  Halberstam examines female masculinity in her text, but limits her discussion to the variety of masculinities performed by lesbian women. l02  151  differences between people over time and place), feminist theory allows us to concentrate on specific social and historical conditions to learn more about the diversity that lies within the social relations of gender. By bringing in men's (and women's) standpoints along with issues of gender and power, feminist theorizing allows the researcher to examine men's emotions, to study men in group situations, and place their experiences within a structural context (Coltrane 1994:55). The focus of this thesis is masculinity in the carnival, how it is manifested in the workers' behaviour, how it helps to organize the way work is done and perceived, and how it is both exploited and, simultaneously, contained by the owners of the carnival. I use the term 'masculinity' here in a conceptual sense but, in the lived social relations of the carnival, it is a significant force in the lives of everybody in the carnival: men and women; heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual; White, Metis and Aboriginal; owners and workers. I will show that all of these various groups organized and understood their social and work worlds through a variety of understandings of what it means to be a man, and I include women also: femininities were equally constructed around 'what it means to be a man'. The carnival was overwhelmingly male-dominated numerically, but the masculinities and femininities performed by the carnival owners and workers — both male and female — were numerous, varied and always in relation to situations of power and privilege. Hegemonic Masculinity In this section, I discuss the concept of hegemonic masculinity, referring to the literature on masculinity by R.W. Connell (1987 and 1995) and Paul Willis (1977). I then concentrate on Connell's arguments concerning working-class males 152  and a particular form of masculinity: protest masculinity, "a marginalized masculinity which picks up themes of hegemonic masculinity in the society at large but reworks them in a context of poverty" (Connell 1995:114). I have selected this form of working-class masculinity to expand upon as it is most applicable to the carnival culture. Although Willis (1977) does not use the term "protest masculinity" in his study of British working-class youths, Connell's (1995) definition of the term clearly covers the version of masculinity developed by the boys that Willis examines as they try to reconcile their social and economic limitations and resultant resentments by constructing their gender identity from these truncated reference points. Therefore, I also make links between Connell's protest masculinity and Willis' analyses of working-class masculinity. To fully understand the concepts of hegemonic and working-class/protest masculinities, it is important to define what is meant by "masculinity". In Masculinities (1995), Connell examines various definitions of the term that arise out of particular "strategies" (Connell 1995:68) to grapple with the masculine character. He concludes that the semiotic approach is the most useful as it places masculinity in a set of social relations: put simply, "masculinity is...defined as non-femininity" (Connell 1995:70). Masculinity, then, is the bench-mark, as it were, against which femininity is measured and constructed in several guises. The key idea in this definition of masculinity is that masculinity is a symbol that exists among other symbols. There is no masculinity except as it exists in gender relations and, therefore, gender practice (Connell 1995:70/71). 153  In Gender and Power (1987), Connell defines hegemonic masculinity as ...a social ascendancy achieved in a play of social forces that extends beyond contests of brute power into the organization of private life and cultural processes. Ascendancy of one group of men over another achieved at the point of a gun, or by the threat of unemployment, is not hegemony. Ascendancy which is embedded in religious doctrine and practice, mass media content, wage structures, the design of housing, welfare/taxation policies, and so forth, is. (Connell 1987:184). Connell points out three very important elements to hegemony. The first is that, although the subordination of men and women by men through force does not constitute hegemony, there may very well be force used to impose the dominant group's will (Connell 1987:184). The second element of hegemony is that the subordinated groups rarely accept in toto the ascendancy of others (Connell 1987:184). The relationship between controlling and controlled amounts to a constant striving for a balance, within which lies potent terrain for contestation and change. The subordination, therefore, is never complete, in the sense that the resistance against the oppressed group is never eliminated entirely. The third theme in hegemonic masculinity is that its prototype, or idealized version, rarely actually exists, other than perhaps in the form of professional male sports figures. As Connell states, "...the winning of hegemony often involves the creation of models of masculinity which are quite specifically fantasy figures, such as film characters played by Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and Sylvester Stallone" (Connell 1987:184/5). The image of masculinity, within the hegemonic definition, therefore, is a social construction, an idealized form that draws upon myth and cultural beliefs, but towards which all practitioners of hegemonic masculinity draw their inspiration, and from which form their emulation. 154  An important contribution that Connell makes towards our understanding of hegemonic masculinity (as well as all other conceptual delineations of masculinity, e.g. working-class, or black masculinity) is that there is no singular form of these categories of social male-ness. While it may be useful to refer to them as a singular entity for conceptual or analytical purposes, as soon as we examine men in a particular social context, we must also take into account those males' class and race positions, as well as their sexual orientation, in order to understand the true nature of the gender relations. Hegemonic masculinity is not a rigid categorization. It is a "historically mobile relation" (Connell 1995:77) that alters according to the foundation upon which the male dominance rests. Male dominance is usually asserted and maintained through violence, which can range from domestic abuse, to the waging of war, to techniques of harassment and intimidation (against women) in the form of comments and whistles (Connell 1995:83). The need for men to continuously re-assert their hegemonic control, then, highlights the conflictual element of gender relations. The oppressed (whether women or marginalized/subordinated masculine groups) rarely fully accept the attempts of the dominant group to impose their will. And it is within this struggle that we are able to locate the intricacies of gender relations that are comprised of both accommodation and resistance. Working Class/Protest Masculinity As mentioned above, working-class masculinity(ies) are largely formed around the contradictions inherent in the relations of accommodation and resistance to the dominant group (usually also male). Gender, race and class are rooted in 155  social practices in specific locations, and shape such practices in relations of reciprocity (Messerschmidt 1993:127). Men and women, even in the most socially oppressive situations, do feel they have some control over their social action, but their behaviour is strongly informed, and limited, by elements of their social structure, such as issues of power, sexual orientation and the division of labour. Usually enmeshed within socially oppressive structures, the working class is cited by Connell as a location where the intersection of gender and class allows a more accurate understanding of masculinities. Just as Willis (1977) argues in Learning  to Labor, Connell posits that working-class masculinities are characterized  by responses to class subordination and the experiences of working with overbearing managers. A further aspect of a working-class masculine construction is the acceptance by the working-class members of the image of themselves that is imposed by the dominant class. Working-class masculinity, then, is comprised of a contradictory set of social and gender relations that, simultaneously, resist and absorb the hegemonic demands of the more privileged classes (Connell 1995; Willis 1977). Borrowing from Alfred Adler's (1992[1927]) concept of masculine protest, Connell's term of "protest masculinity" refers to a type of working-class masculinity embraced by males in powerless positions (Connell 1995:111). It is a type of masculinity that emphasizes the body as a tool for work, violence and sex, as opposed to a mental or more cerebral characterization of masculinity. In Chapter 4 of Masculinities,  entitled "Live Fast and Die Young", Connell (1995) provides brief  life stories of some men who represent protest masculinity. Although he does not 156  specify characteristics of protest masculinity in a general sense, a useful set of criteria is provided by Broude (who also refers to it as "hypermasculinity"): physical aggression, destructiveness, crime, drinking, boasting, and sensitivity to personal criticism (Broude 1990:110). In Connell's analysis of the men who display protest masculinity, he poses the following question: If masculinities are constructed in response to capitalist work conditions and locations, what is the effect — during economic downturns when unskilled jobs become intermittent and scarce — on the construction of those masculinities (Connell 1995:94)? It is in this particular chapter, in which Connell analyzes the situation of a masculinity that is constructed largely in the context of tangible external conditions, that I located the only empirical description that most closely resembled that of most of the male (and many of the female) carnival workers. Admittedly, Connell's brief but illuminating case studies examine the situation of men who, in better economic times, would undoubtedly have developed a labour record of serial unskilled jobs and it is only because of the dearth of these jobs that they find themselves marginally and/or sporadically employed. This differs from the situation of the carnival workers who chose to work in the carnival rather than in other labour areas that may or may not have been impacted by an economic crisis. Many of the carnival employees had work records prior to carnival employment that contained huge gaps, for reasons other than national economic downturns: lengthy prison terms, inability or unwillingness to work in conventional work locations, severe alcohol and/or drug addictions, mental illness, severely fractured or non-existent 157  families and other psycho-social barriers to gaining employment in more orthodox work settings. A strength to this thesis, consequently, is that it adds to Connell's argument that protest masculinity, probably the most marginalized of masculinities, is constructed in response not only to the conditions of difficult and unskilled labour, but also in response to poverty, an almost inevitable consequence of working in under-valued and low-paid jobs. Connell's analysis ties in closely with Willis' (1977) meticulous examination of the meanings attached to manual labour that illuminate the weaving of gender and class to create a specific kind of masculinity that serves to justify and, simultaneously, rebel against the social and economic conditions of inequality that give rise to the very relations of power that the male workers attempt to negotiate. Although Willis does not frame his ethnographic study of British working-class males within a strictly masculinist set of parameters, it is his detailed description of the boys' attitudes and reactions towards the middle-class culture within which they must work that one is able to state, unequivocally, that Willis is not just talking about any kind of masculinity, nor any kind of working-class masculinity, but a particular form of working-class masculinity that is formed in reaction to the most oppressive and demeaning conditions of education and work. If one places the situation of the carnival workers within the context of Willis' (1977) arguments about differentiation, the question of why some workers chose to work in such difficult low-paid jobs begins to be answered. Masculinities are formed not in relation to particular work locations but in relation to the entire labour market. In the case of unskilled men who occupy places on the outskirts of the labour 158  market, the pattern of sporadic employment creates a situation of constantly "living on the edge" of abject poverty. This situation combines with the dominant (and employing) class's attitude towards unskilled labourers as replaceable and, indeed, interchangeable with any other unskilled worker. The workers themselves see both jobs and employers as equally generic. The result is a formation of masculinity that has roots in an acute skepticism of dominant institutional practices and expectations but that is accompanied by a resignation that manifests itself in techniques of accommodation and resistance to the power of those institutions. A significant point that both Willis (1977) and Connell (1995) make is that protest masculinity is a collective endeavour that