The Sociology of Emotional Laborby Amy S. Wharton
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Emotional labor refers to the process by which workers are expected to manage their feelings in accordance with organizationally defined rules and guidelines. Hochschild's (1983) The Managed Heart introduced this concept and inspired an outpouring of research on this topic. This article reviews theory and research on emotional labor with a particular focus on its contributions to sociological understandings of workers and jobs. The sociological literature on emotional labor can be roughly divided into two major streams of research. These include studies of interactive work and research directly focused on emotions and their management by workers. The first uses emotional labor as a vehicle to understand the organization, structure, and social relations of service jobs, while the second focuses on individuals’ efforts to express and regulate emotion and the consequences of those efforts. The concept of emotional labor has motivated a tremendous amount of research, but it has been much less helpful in providing theoretical guidance for or integration of the results generated by these bodies of work.
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