Conference Agenda

RN11_04b: Work-Related Challenges and Emotional Labour
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Stina Bergman Blix, Uppsala University
Location: BS.3.27
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


"Why Don´t You Find Yourself A Proper Job?" – Feelings And Feeling Norms In The Struggle Over The Symbolic Meaning(s) Of Work.

Nina Margies

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

When forms and conditions of work change, so too does the symbolic meaning(s) of work. The definition of what is considered work and non-work becomes highly contested and is subject to (re)negotiations. The struggle over definition and recognition of work is important as this definition determines the value we attach to certain forms of labour. It also influences the entitlement to feelings – does the work one is carrying out entitle, for instance, to feel stressed or complain about the workload.

In this struggle for the interpretative authority, I argue, feelings play a crucial role.

First, feelings and feeling norms are used as moral argument to make claims about what is or ought to be considered and valued as "proper work".

Second, the clash between "old" and "new" definitions of valuable work can lead individuals into a painful inner conflict between their self-esteem and feelings of self-realisation, on the one hand, and the (missing) external recognition, on the other.

Finally, this inner conflict and the painful emotions that emerge when being denied the recognition of carrying out proper work, require a considerable and constant amount of cognitive and emotion work.

This paper carves out this social struggle over the symbolic meaning(s) of work and their emotive dimension by looking at young people’s work experiences in Spain – a generation, which is most affected by new, atypical and often precarious working conditions, even more so in the athermath of the economic crisis. Drawing on qualitative data of in-depth interviews with young freelancers and entrepreneurs in Madrid, I will show how norms of work and the feelings that get attached to them are perceived, managed and contested.

Boundary Making, Emotional Labour And Human Non-Human Relationships: A Qualitative Study Of Veterinary Professionals And How They Manage Work-Related Emotions In Professional And Private Contexts

Lorraine Green, Lisa Martina Moran

Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK, United Kingdom

This paper presents findings from a sociological study of practicing veterinarians, veterinary nurses and veterinary specialists (e.g. biosecurity, herd health experts) in the UK and Ireland; focusing on their everyday relationships with farmers, pet owners, breeders and non-human actors. We apply Arlie Hochschild’s (2003) work on emotional labour, to focus on ‘emotion work’ and ‘emotion management’, to examine veterinarians’ relationships, and how they manage emotions in professional and personal domains. We focus on how veterinary professionals manage their feelings in complex situations involving humans and non-humans including animal death, pet cremation, and threats to biosecurity that jeopardise economic, cultural and social sustainability and human food chains. We argue that how veterinary professionals express and/or suppress emotions, and how maintain relationships with farmers, pet owners and animals partially relates to training and discourses of professionalism within veterinary communities and the importance of fulfilling one's expected occupational or professional roles. Importantly, we also argue that the specific contexts where vets work impacts on emotional management. The cultures of specific clinical settings, and ‘cultural scripts’ (Vanclay and Enticott 2011) that are often place-based, and regulate interactions in communities, marts and fairs, on farms, and in specific households and which link to cultural artefacts in these settings (e.g. diagnostics, machinery, sheds, animals) indelibly shape how veterinarians manage their emotions and how they recreate emotional boundaries with human and non-human clients.

Edgework Emotional Management in Organ Donation Negotiation

Lissette Avilés, Susanne Kean, Jennifer Tocher

The University of Edinbrugh, United Kingdom

Background: Exploring the process of approaching the families to negotiate organ donation consent remains to be a sensitive topic within medical professions and healthcare systems. Extensive literature is focused on ethical, psychological, legal and structural considerations regarding people and families’ making decision process. However, few studies have analysed the social interactions that healthcare professionals and families experience when organ donation negotiation occurs. Aim: I examine the role of emotions within the process of approaching families. Method: A constructivist grounded theory study is carried out, which analyses these social encounters due to the delicate topic to pursue. Results: I argue that Edgework Emotional Management constitutes one of the main processes that professionals perform within approaching the families, pushing the boundaries of death forwards, body belonging and end of life decision-making. I discuss the crucial role of emotions in these interactions and how healthcare professionals and families challenge themselves to negotiate organ donation. I extend the concept developed by Lyng (1992), Lois (2003) and Bolton (2005) to explain the emotional work experience by nurses within organ donation process and eventually other critical areas in the medical context. Conclusion: Understanding the role of emotions as the mediator of these interactions may explain the complexity of social encounters in sensitive topics, and therefore, propose strategies to deal with these challenges.

Keep a Stiff Upper Lip or Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve? Ethnic Identity and Emotion Management among Arab/Palestinians in Israel

Maha Shehade switat, Yuval Feinstein

university of haifa, Israel

This study examines how emotion management is linked to subjective identity among members of ethnic minority groups in ethnically mixed workplaces. Data were drawn from interviews with Arab/Palestinian citizen residents of Israel. The results reveal three distinct strategies of emotion management: (1) Arab/Palestinians, regardless of their subjective identity, tend to conceal emotions during interactions with majority group members. (2) Individuals who identify as ‘Arab’ also tend to regulate social interactions to avoid the emotional risks that accompany interactions with majority group members. (3) Those who choose a ‘Palestinian’ label are more likely to actively express their ethnic identities despite the emotional risks associated with this type of identification. The findings suggest that emotion management is influenced not only by a person’s assignment to a social minority category (the emphasis of previous research), but also by a person’s subjectively defined identity.