Elisa Bellè, Attila Bruni, Barbara Poggio

Motions at work: between emotional labour and sentimental work

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Emotional Labour; Sentimental Work; Gender; Care; Ethnography.

Starting from Hochschild's conceptualization of emotional labor in service work, emotions at work have become a classic issue, both for gender and organization studies. Moreover, the role of emotions and feelings as productive factors is now also highlighted by studies which, focusing on forms of flexible, precarious and migrant work, emphasize the processes of work domestication and of putting at work the subjectivity of male and female workers.However, even if their value and importance is now a taken for granted (even if with more or less enthusiastic accent), in organizational and work contexts emotions continue to be interpreted on an individual basis, as properties of single ac- tors. Based on the analysis of ethnographic material collected in two different research projects, both in the field of healthcare, and matching the concept of emotional labor with that of sentimental work, in this article we intend to show: a) how, at the organizational level, emotions are «naturalized», but almost never handled as a corpus of knowledge and a repertoire of collective action; b) how, accordingly, in the daily work, the management of emotions remains a responsibility of individual actors; c) how the management of emotions becomes a (hidden) parameter for the evaluation of individual work performances, rather than of the organization's ability to guide and promote work practices and trajectories of action respectful of different subjectivities.

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