In Sociology of Waiting, Paul Christopher Price investigates how people wait and analyzes what individuals do while waiting. It is a key feature within U.S. and other societies; waiting is universal. Sociologically, waiting gets at order and our ability or inability to pause. Crowds cannot rush into concert venues and supermarket clerks cannot check-out customers simultaneously. So, we must wait! In all our waiting, we've developed strategies and structures for “delays,” and such methods and structures provide order as well as understanding: we recognize why we wait. The sociology of waiting is a classic piece of everyday sociology, a timeless piece of routine behavior. Waiting is as natural as breathing, eating and drinking; indeed, mothers wait nine months before infants are brought to term, and summer will always follow spring. Waiting provides its own lessons. That is, watching cars weave through traffic and receive citations by police, we learn that waiting may have saved time and money. Shining the light on waiting permits a far superior understanding of order and how our society organizes itself around taking turns. Waiting is a matter that takes-up much of our valuable time and resources—consequently, reducing wait-time has become big business.
Paul Christopher Price is associate professor of sociology at the Pasadena City College and author of Social Control at Opportunity Boys Home: How Staff Control Juvenile Inmates.
1Structure of Waiting
4Waiting for Service
6Business of Waiting
7Waiting with Strangers
8Alternatives to Waiting
9Emotion and Waiting
Paul Price’s The Sociology of Waiting: How Americans Wait presents a comprehensive analysis of the ubiquitous process of “waiting”: a situation we often “lament” but do not often “interrogate.” Price’s searing analysis of waiting in a host of social situations reveals “the waiting game” in ways that enable us to see waiting in a different light. After reading this book, you will never view waiting the same way. This book is a sociological delight!
In his new monograph, Price paints a revealing portrait of the culture of waiting. Readers are treated to his copious field notes and compelling observations that detail an ethnography of the queue, including the circumstances in which people are encouraged to 'hurry up and wait.' This work is illuminating, timely, and important.