SOC327 2017 Tut6 – Mon 1330

We all know what its like to feel the wrong thing at the wrong time. Boredom when you’re meant to be interested (or at least look interested) in that lecture, anxiety when you’re meant to be happy with friends, tiredness when you’re playing with children, and frustration and stress at work. We all know what it means to feel the wrong thing, and then have to pretend – or display – a different feeling, or even somehow make ourselves feel something altogether different. We call this ‘emotion management.’

But how do we manage our emotions? When should we manage them? Should we always try to think happy thoughts – is sadness just bad and troublesome? Or are there social rules about how and when we should do this? Arlie Hochschild suggests that society has ‘feeling rules’ about how we are allowed to feel in given situations – particularly at work – and that these rules impact differently on men and women, with women still doing the bulk of the ‘emotional labour’ involved in care jobs in most countries.

Do you manage your emotions most of the time at work? Or in other areas of life? Does your gender affect this?

#S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

Posted in Uncategorized.

26 Comments

  1. I agree with Goffman who suggests that humans are actors, playing a role throughout their life. When interacting with others, I tend to manage my emotions based on the expressed emotions of others, though if I am not directly interacting with others I find myself unconsciously expressing divergent emotions through body language, such as frowning or smiling to myself, despite being in public. As Stearns says, “emotion itself has a cognitive element”, but I believe that there is a subconscious element to emotions, over which we have no control.
    My personal experience of emotional management closely relates to Francis’ explanation of laughter as a tool of cultural performance. For example, if I am in a tense, awkward, or boring interaction with others, humour can be used to restore equilibrium, save face, and strengthen norms.
    #SOC327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  2. Much like Holschild, I also believe that there are rules that govern the way we feel at particular times, often based on the social construction of ‘appropriateness’. What we were taught as children, the environments we were raised in and the behaviors we learnt shape the way we think, feel and behave at particular moments. A form of social adaptation to the environment, with an emphasis on social norms.
    I don’t believe that gender changes the way we feel at particular moments, however I believe it can discriminate in regards to the behavior which results from these emotions. For example, although sadness can be universal across genders, it is more acceptable for a woman to cry in a formal setting (such as a workplace) than a man.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #MON1330

  3. I work in hospitality, and there is a certain expectation that you should be happy, friendly and helpful. While I am generally a positive person, I often have to evocate one or more of these characteristics, which can be very exhausting if you’re just having a bad day. In my current job, it is not so much a gendered issue, because the boys are also expected to give ‘service with a smile’.

    Outside of work, I think I evoke emotions less, but I also sometimes suppress emotion. On a few occasions I have been very upset in a social setting, but tried extremely hard to stay calm and not cry. At the time I was very emotionally vulnerable, however I managed my emotions so that I did not attract attention and was not seen as being weak/dramatic (context based). I think such problems can be very gendered, and women are more likely to suppress emotions such as anger and frustration (especially in the workplace) so that they are not seen as “bitchy” or “hormonal”. I would argue that in these situations, women undergo what Lupton identifies as body work, and possibly cognitive work, in order to manage their emotions.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  4. I agree with Hochschild that there are ‘feeling rules’ which we must abide by in order to keep within the social norm. We often repress the true emotions that we feel and project the ones acceptable in that moment in order keep the social norm. Otherwise, we are labelled and stigmatized as “different” or “deviant”. Why is it not okay to express what we are truly feeling? I believe that feeling rules should provide a guideline of how to act however I feel as though that are dictating our lives. I also believe that gender does play a large role in what emotions are express/repressed and that it has a large impact on wellbeing.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

    • I agree with Ashleigh here on her point of gender playing a role of what is socially expectable. I think that the notion of ‘feeling rules’ as described by Hochschild provides an explanation of what and why we express our different feelings base on societal expectations. Growing up although, I was always taught that women and men should afforded equal opportunities in the work place and society, but I still think there is a stigma around a women’s emotional nature and thus exploits women into doing more ‘emotional work.

      #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  5. Emotion management is definitely a situational response and Hochschild’s proposed ‘feeling rules’ highlight the important role that these rules play in individual expression of emotion. These ‘feeling rules’ distinguish what we feel from what society expects us to feel. It is when these two emotions differ that we must internally choose to express or repress our feelings, often to reflect a societal standard. I work in the hospitality business and at my workplace we have signs hung up in the back room reading ‘service with a smile.’ These signs belittle us to engage in this ‘emotional labour’ to fit the expected emotional standard of our line of work, regardless of our actual emotional state. If we expand this thought further into the workforce, women are painted as emotionally capable and caring and therefore expected to excel in this field without extra compensation. My mum is a school administration officer for a primary school and since starting her job has been allocated the role of attending to any sick children in the ‘sick-bay’ because she is ‘caring’ and ‘maternal.’ It is these expectations of ‘emotional labour’ that define the way we manage our emotions in the workforce, particularly for women who carry an expectation to modulate their emotions and have concern for those around them.
    #SOC327UOW17 #tut6 #Mon1330

  6. Emotion management is definitely a situational response and Hochschild’s proposed ‘feeling rules’ highlight the important role that these rules play in individual expression of emotion. These ‘feeling rules’ distinguish what we feel from what society expects us to feel. It is when these two emotions differ that we must internally choose to express or repress our feelings, often to reflect a societal standard. I work in the hospitality business and at my workplace we have signs hung up in the back room reading ‘service with a smile.’ These signs belittle us to engage in this ‘emotional labour’ to fit the expected emotional standard of our line of work, regardless of our actual emotional state. If we expand this thought further into the workforce, women are painted as emotionally capable and caring and therefore expected to excel in this field without extra compensation. My mum is a school administration officer for a primary school and since starting her job has been allocated the role of attending to any sick children in the sick-bay because she is ‘caring’ and ‘maternal.’ It is these expectations of ‘emotional labour’ that define the way we manage our emotions in the workforce, particularly for women who carry an expectation to modulate their emotions and have concern for those around them.

  7. I think we have all felt what Hochschild said about ‘exhortation’. The act of acting as though our feelings are in tone with what is acceptable. Maybe the idea that gender weighs heavily on this is because women are seen as more emotional, therefore they will need to manage their emotions more.
    ‘Emotional management’ is probably seen to be enacted in work more often because of the notion that ‘the customer is always right’, even when they are wrong. Even if someone is acting angrily, aggressively, etc, we need to remain calm and keep a smile on our faces.

  8. Gender and emotion have been connected throughout history, it is socially accepted that women are happy and polite, showing gentle emotion, while men are expected to display more hard and tough emotions. I have also found in industry, though all employees are expected to manage their emotions to suit the business, a higher standard is expected of women, and if society doesn’t receive the expected happy and polite emotions, the disapproval is greater; with women being labelled as ‘grumpy’, ‘bitchy’ and/or ‘rude’.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  9. I agree with Hochschild in that there are feelings rules that govern how and when we can express certain emotions. Working in retail, I can be having the worst day, but when a customer walks in, I am are expected to ‘save face’ and smile, even if the customer is rude, angry or has just broken something. That’s the hardest part about the customer always being right, even when they’re wrong. It’s a topic my partner doesn’t understand as he works in the construction industry, not dealing with the customer face to face. Therefore, this emotional labour is more targeted to certain industries; it’s not exclusive to race, sexuality or gender. However, I think women are held to a higher standard than men, and if someone is displeased, they are more likely to show it in a more public manner. Having to evoke/suppress emotion is a learned response to reflect societal standards. #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  10. I agree with Hochschild’s idea that “If we reconsider the nature of
    emotion and the nature of our capacity to try shaping it, we are struck
    by the imperial scope of social rule” (1979). The way in which men and women act in a situation is often up to unspoken rules in society, and generally it seems that women are expected to manage their emotions – a man showing his anger would be more accepted than his female counterpart. Although there is still differences in how emotions are accepted, there is more movement towards emotional equality i.e. the example previously used about the hospitality industry – both men and women are expected to give “service with a smile”.

  11. Along with Hochschild’s ‘feeling rules’ and Goffman’s concept of dramaturgy, I see the majority of how I go about my day as a performance. Even outside of the public eye (or social exchange), this regulation exists as if imbedded into how I function. While gender may come into play, I believe that it is a learned and internalised trait – it’s easier to abide by social norms.

    With greater technological developments, (from personal experience) I find it interesting how these concepts that are generally considered when interacting in the direct presence of another person, have made their way into technology-based exchanges. Could this barrier between communications further increase how we abide by feeling rules/present ourselves, and what are the consequences of this? Will we eventually become robotic in a sense with a set of pre-set responses?

  12. I believe that emotion management is a form of regulation that is encouraged in society, in particular the workforce, to maintain social boundaries and to uphold a certain image. For example, I work as a casual in retail. The message “smiles on the tiles” is drilled into me by my manager every day. Consequently, I have to demonstrate emotional intelligence which Goleman explains as self-awareness and self-regulation of emotions. I cannot demonstrate my frustration when a customer is being rude to me. Instead, I have to self-regulate what I am feeling or else I’ll end up in trouble. This also relates to Hochschild’s concept of ‘display rules’ where I can only express certain emotions such as happiness in social situations such as at work. Meanwhile, I think there is often different social rules about the expression of emotions for men and women in the workforce. However, I think this is less common in my workplace. Overall, I think emotion management can have negative impacts relating to mental health issues via the build-up of emotions. Alternatively, perhaps it could be suggested as positive because if I don’t manage my emotions then I won’t have an income. However, this raises the question whether or not this is morally right?

    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  13. Emotions are often managed through various means. Under a psychological lens these can include the acknowledgement of Emotional Intelligence, that individuals are aware of emotions such as empathy and can control them, or through Positive psychology.

    Under a sociological lens, emotions can be seen as managed through social influences, for example Goffman’s dramaturgy.

    Hosschild’s emotional management discusses Feeling and Display rules. The former relates to how we are meant to feel in social situation. The latter covers how we are allowed to feel. In response to this an individual may have to engage in surface acting or deep acting.

    Recently I have had to invoke positive feelings through surface acting due to Display rules. However I suggest that gender does have a impact on emotional work due to the expectation of adhering to specific gender norms.

  14. I definitely think that we all tend to alter how we exhibit our emotions based on what we have been taught is “appropriate.” We are almost worried to go against these perceived rules because of the reaction it would invite from others.
    I work in retail, and we are constantly expected to remain upbeat and positive even when being absolutely berated by customers. This is an expectation of both the male and female members of staff, so it is not an example of women being expected to engage more in emotional labour, however I do see that as an issue or situation that occurs frequently outside of work.

  15. Erving Goffman that “as a general rule, one enters the prevailing mood”. We are in some way socialised to take on different psychological states and attitudes that fit the environment we are in. Our emotional states are often reflecting the setting we are in. In many places including work we are seen to be using the Interactive Account of emotion and feeling; “In the interactive account, social influences permeate emotion more insistently and more effectively”. (pg. 553)
    Typically gender can play a role in how we express our emotions, essentially, we often hear how women are more soft-spoken and respectable and typically males can be more out-going and flamboyant. But this doesn’t mean that in many areas of our lives we are like little puppeteers adjusting our emotional selves to suit societal expectations.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  16. The way in which male and females carry themselves in public is influenced and sculptured by unspoken rules. I agree with Caitlin that we sculpture our emotions to fit certain situations, worried about the ramifications of showing your true feelings. Customers expect a happy a cheerful person to serve them regardless of how they’re feeling. Females are expected to uphold these value more than males, and if they don’t, they’re regarded as rude and ignorant.

    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  17. I think that in most situations we definitely ‘mange our emotions’ both in personal and professional situations based on what we society deems appropriate.
    I work in a call centre and it is expected of both the male and female agents to be happy and upbeat when we are on a call, regardless of how the person on the other end is treating us. However I do not think the same applies in personal situations. From a young age I think boy are taught that they should “be a big boy” or “be a man” and instead of crying just brush off whatever happened. While girls are comforted and told that it’s okay to cry. I think that this has made it more acceptable for a woman to cry in public than it is for a man.
    #S327UOW17 #tut6 #Mon1330

  18. The social and environmental context in which we learn to ‘manage’ our emotions influence the action or inaction due to emotional stimulus. Role models, for example, sad or angry and aggressive parents or older siblings have a major impact on younger individuals learning how to control their feelings. However, the evident gender divide is apparent particularly with mothers as they need to be constantly ready to provide emotional support to all members of the family, regardless of their own stresses. Is it noted that this is an issue in the workplace, although I think this is accentuated in some work environments. Retail and hospitality are two types that really require control over emotion and I have recognised that both males and females attempt to provide the best possible service, despite what they really may be feeling.

  19. Emotional labour is something that is not often considered in the context of the unpaid work that individuals perform. This emotional labour, is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. This is often in the form of regulation emotions when in the presence of customers and other employees. This therefore suggests, that yes there is a management of feelings which is often dictated by the constraints of a job which are often established by society.

    The jobs which are most often considered to be most heavily involved with emotional labour are those such as; waiting, hospital work (such as nurses) counselors and secretaries. Many of these occupations are fulfilled by women, which supports the assertion put forward by Hochschild that women still do the bulk of the emotional labour, particularly within care work. Consider additionally, the role of mothers as nurturers and caregivers for, much of the work done at home is additionally emotional labour, however all of this is unpaid and so therefore emotionally draining with limited tangible benefits for the individual completing the work.

    For myself personally, I work in hospitality and so therefore spend my time interacting with customers. I find that despite my mood once entering the workplace, I have to ensure that I appear approachable and happy so as to provide the customer with the experience that they expect. I have to control my emotions and in this sense must ‘perform’ an emotive state which is expected by society. For my job, gender is not a factor which influences this portrayal as society has created rules which govern the expression of emotion within a hospitality context.

  20. Without it being ideal, I feel gender has an impact on emotions. We are taught to display our emotions to what is appropriate and what is not, however appropriateness in day-to-day activities differentiate between man and women. This is supported by Arlie Hochschild as he suggests that society has ‘feeling rules’, how these rules are shown in different situations and the different impact it has on both men and women. I questions how this ever started? What made the societal norm that men are emotionless?
    Although it has gotten a lot better, the stigma around womens and their emotional nature is not on par with men, this exploits women and what is it to have equal opportunities throughout society and at work.
    #SOC327UOW17 #TUT6 #MON1330

  21. Emotions and the ways we feel and present them will always be caught up in gender ideals and politics. There’s a reason why so many women work in the service industry. Part of the job is to appear pleasant and amiable at all times and live by “the customer is always right” and while women are not necessarily more placid, they have different expectations placed on them about how they should act and express emotions, especially how they should conduct themselves in a professional environment.
    Arlie Hochschild’s ‘feeling rules’ talk about how there are certain expectations placed on us in terms of our emotions, how we feel them, and how we present them. “if we are evaluating our feelings or emotional state, then a feeling rule is active. Some feeling rules are easy to recognize because we’ve actually
    formalized them in some fashion. For example, we know about how long it is “normal” to grieve for a loved one who has died.” (Hochschild, 1975) These feeling rules even further dictate how different genders are expected to respond to certain emotional stimuli. As society has both ideals around emotions, and then ideals around gender, the two coming together can create a complicated range of what is and isn’t acceptable to feel.
    #S327UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1330

  22. The notion that Hochschild puts forward, as expressed by many above, do certainly seem to ring true for me also. Like others, I work in an occupation that is required employees act in a manner according of a happy and reasonable person, regardless of personal circumstances. However, what I have noticed in my employment is that females are expected far more than their traditionally stoic male counterparts to perform in this regard. Customers are far less likely to reprimand me for displaying sombre emotions, simply due to the fact that it seems it is interpreted that I am taking my job seriously. Female co-workers are often told by customers that they should look happier when in an identical frame of emotional state. In other facets of life this is also true, it appears to be serious and occasionally gruff is something encouraged and somewhat admired when embodied by a male.

  23. I believe that Goffman’s idea that we are all actors in soceity, playing a role throughout our lives. We from a young age are taught how to behave in certain ways, how to do gender (masculinity and femininity) which are based on the morals and values that are passed down to us from parents or someone we look up to. In the workplace, my boss has expectations of good customer service, so my emotions are managed based on the act that Ian portraying. In a sense this can be related to Holschild’s perspective as my emtotions are governed by rules that are often set not just off those expectations but also off social constructions of appropriateness which is taught from a young age.

  24. Working in the hospitality industry has definitely cemented my belief that feelings are managed and how we managed these feelings are prescribed to us by feeling rules which are expected to adhere to. In my own personal experience I believe that I manage my feelings by ignoring what I internally feel in order to act in a manner which is expected of the customer. This management is internalised and involves ignoring or masking certain feelings through surface or deep acting which allows us to perform a role and to save face in any given social situation.

Comments are closed.