Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This is an ethnographic study of a group of men who work as traveling welders. This study looks at both the kinds of challenges the men face as well as the positive aspects of the work. The questions asked of the ten interview subjects were chosen in order to gain an understanding of a day in the life of the men in this profession, both on and off the clock.
The thesis will open with a pitch given by a welding school and segue into the literature review, delving into occupational and organizational culture definitions before comparing welding to other careers such as long-haul truck drivers, boxers, policemen, and those in the armed forces. From that point, the interview responses will be discussed, from the worst and best parts of the job to the most interesting stories that the men have gathered from their time on the road.
These men started out as starry-eyed, healthy young men seeing the world, often for the first time, and slowly devolved, either into jaded old-timers who were no longer awe-stricken by all of the places they traveled or broken men who lost more than they could express in the perpetual quest to chase the dollar.
Shepherd, Jennifer, "Chasing the dollar: an ethnography of the traveling welder." (2014). Electronic Thesis Collection. Paper 135.