SOC344 2018 Tut5 – Mon 12.30pm

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?

#S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

10 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut5 – Mon 12.30pm

Amelia Collier said : Guest Report 7 months ago

Hochschild's idea of managing ones emotion has been a part of our society for years. We are expected to feel certain things and act a certain way in particular social settings. Everybody at some point in their life will have experienced this emotional management whether that be a personal preference e.g. not expressing feelings towards somebody or if it is forced upon them e.g. having to act happy in the workplace. The better one is at managing their emotions the easier they will find interacting with others in our society. This is due to the fact that we are so used to people altering their emotions that when somebody shows their true emotions such as anger and sadness, it can make others uncomfortable or feel awkward. #S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

Georgia Stack said : Guest Report 8 months ago

It is argued that one cannot manage their emotions but rather manage the behaviour they produce from their emotional state, which is dictated by feeling rules and display rules (Hochschild, 1979). These feeling rules very much focus on the should, they subtly dictate to our subconscious how we should feel in various contexts, they induce feelings of guilt and shame when our emotions fail to line up with the feeling rules. Hoschild (1979) pairs feeling rules with display rules, which subtly dictate how we should show our emotions in various contexts. We have also been taught to manage our emotions when they become too much, our society can tolerate emotions such as happy or sad but becomes uncomfortable when people display extreme ends of the emotional spectrum. These extreme emotions are though to be “over whelming” and “techniques have been created to help us manage these.” For example, Psychologists use treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to have us reframe the way we behave and feel about certain situations, to give a more positive appraisal and positive behaviour when we encounter similar situations in the future (Rothbaum, Meadows, Resick & Foy, 2000). This encourages the societal attitude that we should always be aiming for “a positive and happy mindset”, when in reality part of the human experience is experiencing suffering. Is the need to display oneself as always being happy leading to people having a picture perfect social media presence whilst they grow sadder comparing themselves to other’s supposed happy lives, or even to the mental state they think they should have? Similarly, I believe the socially constructed gender roles also influence the way we manage our emotions. The popular notions “boys don’t cry” or “don’t be a girl” indicate that men are not supposed to have strong emotional reactions to things, and instead should leave all the emotional work to women. This can also be seen in the division of careers, with a higher number of women working in caretaker roles. #S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

Kaitlyn Poole said : Guest Report 8 months ago

Management of emotion is a constant occurrence through much of everyday life. Hochschild points to the way in which social situations and circumstances influence our responses, requiring either surface acting or deep acting. Our ability to adequately perform both of these often determines our success within social situations. For example people who can show they feel confident (especially if this is at a deep level) are often more successful in business situations. I work in a care job as a nanny which requires extensive emotional labour. I often need to appear happy and energetic. When the children are upset it is often difficult not to get frustrated and there is a lot of emotional work in diffusing the situation, not just in managing my own emotions but attending to that of the children'.

bridgitte slinger said : Guest Report 8 months ago

Emotional management (EM) is the processes of modifying the many components that build up thoughts and feelings to gain control over emotional reactions. Arlie Hochschild suggested that society affects people’s secondary acts on emotions due social norms on how people are meant to react and display their emotions in specific situations. EM is the ability to recognise, understand, accept or change feelings and thoughts so that emotional reactions are appropriate to the specific social situations. Implications and difficulties arise when feelings and thoughts don’t follow the feeling or display rules. ‘The Process Model of Emotions’ gives 5 broad approaches on how people regulate their emotions (Gross & Thompson, 2007). The ‘Situation selection’ and ‘situation modification’ approaches apply framing rules, these are the ways in which individuals and select and modify social circumstances. The ‘attention deployment’ and the ‘cognitive change’ approaches use deep acting in attempt to evoke and feel specific emotions by thinking about that emotion. Finally, ‘response modulation’ actively manages to express and display emotions that are not inner feelings. All these approaches for EM can be successful and affective if applied in the correct way, but some can have damaging long-term effects on individual’s wellbeing and mental health. Currently I am unemployed as a consequence of surface acting and expressive suppression. Working in the bar and gaming industry was emotionally draining as i acting to be extremely happy when I was miserable for long periods of time. From my personal experience of being a female working in the bar and gaming industry I found that the ways patrons treated me was less important than the money they were putting into the business. Being forced to be excessively polite and having to give the customers playing the gaming machines whatever they demanded put me in such a low power role. I was unable to stand up for myself in horrible situations were men would be disrespectful and inappropriate as they were putting thousands of dollars into the business. Surface acting made me exhausted as the emotions I bottled over a 12 hour shift would come back as the shift ended.

Samantha Walker said : Guest Report 8 months ago

Our emotions are so complex in terms of managing and understanding the times and places in which we must contort our emotions into what is needed during that particular time or event. The notion of happy thought is an interesting one, as it is something that occurs in nearly al work places and facilities, as others expect to see one enjoying themselves in a work situation, despite their happiness not being entirely true. Hochschild’s comment on feeling rules being the behaviour we engage in before we act is true, as in such cases as rage, one can feel the emotion building before the physical act of lashing out or verbally exploding is performed. Hochschild is also correct in relation to the comment that emotions and actions must be aligned with the norms and expectations of that present social situation. Different environments call for different emotions and actions. For example, a work place may call upon formal and professional actions and emotions, whilst when out with friends, more wild and primal emotions and actions may occur. When these emotions are mixed or not presented in the right context it is often seen as unprofessional or embarrassing as the emotions are not normally represented in that context and are often shamed when presented. This applies to all genders, as males are demanded to present more masculine emotions and actions whilst females must be more feminine and calm, and when these emotions are mixed up or traded people become shamed as it does not fit the heteronormative ideas of emotions and actions. #S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

Leanne Watson said : Guest Report 8 months ago

At work it is an old adage that “The customer is always right”. There is little financial profit in pointing out to a customer that they are wrong, even when it’s clear that they are being unreasonable. However, if you manage your emotions, and use your friendliness and consideration in a certain manner, you can have the customer ‘eating out of your hand’. That is why good salespeople are valued in a company. Often parents have to manage their emotions when their children have made mistakes. Think of the classic nappy eruption that babies seem to have, just as (usually mum) is about to step out the door. What point would there be, showing a baby your frustration? There can only be negative consequences if you do. The latter might be a good time to apply the ‘feeling rules’ that Arlie Russell Hochschild (1979) refers to. #S344UOW18 #Tut11 #Shoal

Liam Thomas said : Guest Report 8 months ago

Hochschild’s Feeling Rules definitely play a part in our day-to-day existence. Everything that we consider to be appropriate or inappropriate behaviour in various contexts I believe reflects this. For example, when I teach I am expected to put on a friendly persona and act as a mentor. This entails a certain set of feeling rules: avoid frustration, don’t show anger, act friendly, be cheerful and knowledgeable, etc. In the case of teaching, I believe that these rules, while general expectations, apply differently to men and women. Female teachers are somewhat expected to perform more emotional labour and act as a maternal figure for students. This expectation is lessened for men, who in turn have more emotional leeway and can be expected to show more strictness and controlled applications of anger, for example: if frustrated, they can show more assertive body language and use a harsher tone of voice. While I work, while I teach, I am expected to perform constant emotional management as a requirement of the job. In this way, we do constantly pretend that we are someone else, hence my emotion of a mentor/teacher “persona.” This also reminds me of Goffman’s Dramaturgy. After all, aren’t the roles we assume at work a kind of performance where a lack of emotional management is a “breaking of character?” #S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

Grey Mein said : Guest Report 8 months ago

The reading by Hochschild was very focussed on how we manage our emotions through emotion work. She claims that our social interactions reinforce feeling rules that prescribe how we should or should not feel in any given situation. To abide by these feeling rules, Hochschild cites Goffman’s idea of dramaturgy, and goes in to the notions of surface acting and deep acting. I found these concepts easy to comprehend when put in to context. Hochschild describes the work of an air hostess as surface acting, as she is expected to act cheerful and comforting at all times, even when this is not how she truly feels. I can relate to this, having worked for years in the fast food industry, where I’m expected to be happy and calm at all times, even in the face of negative feedback or angry customers. However, the managers above me would expect that I retain a calm composure, or I risk disciplinary action. To surmise, surface acting involves changing only one’s outward expression, but not changing any inward emotion. This said, I found the idea of deep acting more interesting, perhaps because it is more complex. The idea of deep acting is that an individual uses conscious effort to illicit a different, yet genuine, feeling. Here Hochschild gives the example of an actor thinking of upsetting situations before a performance where they have to portray sadness. These concepts are important because of how they work in our day-to-day lives. Due to feeling rules reinforced by social interactions, we are often encouraged (perhaps one could say forced?) to display emotions that we do not initially feel, and may not be appropriate in a situation. However, if we do not manage our emotions to the expectations of those around us, we face social sanctions, such as questioning or even scolding.

Samantha McAuley said : Guest Report 9 months ago

I thought this week’s lecture content was interesting on how it looked at surface acting and deep acting. ‘Surface acting’ by Hochschild is where we are actively managing our emotions on the outside but not changing our inner feelings, compared to ‘deep acting’ where we are acting so much we actually begin to feel the way we were acting (Hochschild 2012). I think surface acting is seen in many jobs such as retail where you may encounter rude customers although you have to hold your composure and be polite because you are in your workplace and expected to behave in an appropriate manner. The consequences discussed in the lecture from surface acting I believe are true feelings and physical strains that the individual begins to feel (e.g. exhaustion, stress and burnout), but why do we continue in jobs where we have to manage our emotions and are there strategies that employers and workplaces can be using to help employees actually experience happier emotions? I think that most employers want you to be happy and productive about what you’re doing and to convey this to customers who they are interacting with by providing good customer service. I believe that there are gender inequalities in this area because it may be seen that women are in jobs where they are interacting with others more often than men, and women being seen as rude and snobby if they aren’t in a great mood. I also believe that social situations make us manage certain emotions for example in retail the worker can be spoken to in quite horrible ways but they can’t retaliate and be rude back, instead they are expected to diffuse the situation because that’s the responsibility/expectation from employers and society.

Abby Tozer said : Guest Report 9 months ago

The repression of emotion permeates all aspects of my life. Societal ques and rules so readily impact upon my expression of emotion, ultimately exhausting me emotionally. As Hochschild (2013) discusses, feeling and display rules dictate our emotional response to a social situation. ‘Display rules’ refer to the way we are expected to act in a situation, regardless of our underlying emotion. The interrelated nature of society and emotions/bodies is furthered by Hochschild (2013, pg. 552) who quotes Hoffman’s work (1961), ‘participants will hold in check certain psychological states and attitudes… the very general rule that one enters into the prevailing mood in the encounter carries the understanding that contradictory feelings will be in abeyance’. Does this make emotion management a tool for life or does the suppression of emotion eventually impact one’s long term mental health? As a hospitality worker, I am so often picked up on my ‘lack of smile’… why? Is it because a customer truly wants me to be happy… or are they satisfied for me to be surface acting to suffice their own emotions? The entire concept has enlightened me as to how often I in fact supress my emotions to please others. A question to dwell on; as an introvert I am easily exhausted in social settings, should I supress this exhaustion and remain happy, or be understood and allowed to remain quiet? I find people find it almost offensive, is this merely a lack of understanding on their part or should I have to exhaust myself to please others? #S344UOW18 #Tut5 #Mon1230

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