SOC344 2018 Tut5 – Bega

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 #Bega

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

2 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut5 – Bega

Moira Malseed said : Guest Report 8 months ago

It is emotion management that gets me through a volatile situation at work, I apply feeling rules through emotion work as Hochschild explains this as to “stifle or prevent feeling” or the act of changing as well as shaping the feeling which explains as cognitive focus of the unwanted feeling in that moment. (Hochschild 1979, pp.555,561) Like Alicia’s workplace I too put on a professional non-emotional demeaner and appear void of emotion. The need to surface act during a crisis at work is expected, but internally I am frustrated, disgusted and feel a sense of pointlessness. Patulny explains James Gross’s ER Process Model to help deal with emotions, and Patulny notes to avoid long term issues it is best to change your feeling early in the model. Situation selection (avoiding the situation or adapting it to allow you to participate) or modifying the situation (appraising and changing aspects to avoid negative feelings). (Patulny 2018) I find after I have manipulated my feelings not to be negative I have the need to debrief with co-workers, these workers are male and behave in the same professional manner as I do regarding these situations and gender does not seem to make a difference, we all use humour as a tool at times to relieve the frustration in the work place. Focussing on the here and now through mindfulness from the ER Process model helps me cope at home after incidents. (Patulny 2018) It is not natural to be happy in an unhappy moment however maintaining an equilibrium in a volatile work place to avoid outbursts sees reason to change feeling rules.

Carly McDonald said : Guest Report 8 months ago

I wonder whether you had to employ more ‘emotional management’ techniques in your role then your fellow male employees? It would be anti-feminist of me to imply that all women are emotionally sensitive individuals, generalisations are riddled with hypocrisy. Despite the backlash I would like to discuss the idea that intrenched ideologies, regarding gendered behaviours, make it difficult for women to adjust to ‘masculine’ roles. I assume it would be challenging to suppress certain feelings, if you were bought up to believe that you are a caring, emotive being. Trying to fit this notion into Hoschilds theory on ‘emotion management’, it could be said that both genders have employed ‘deep acting’ throughout generations. This ‘acting’, requires a high level of self-persuasion and is often mistaken for genuine feelings (Hoschchild 1979, p.569). This can be confusing, and one can believe that it is their actual personality that comes through and not their conditioning, coupled with self-persuasion. Perhaps men’s ‘deep acting’ as a strong, rational person, allows them to fulfil their duty as a detective, since the personality aligns with the job. On the other hand, women must engage in ‘surface acting’ techniques, to satisfy the job requirements. Surface acting is where an individual dissociates their ‘inner’ feelings from their ‘outer’ feelings in a social environment (Hoschchild 1979, p.569). This type of acting can lead to many issues, since the individual must suppress what they feel is natural to comply with societal norms. This could be why Alicia feels ‘grief stricken, woeful and disgusted’, because her outward behaviour is detached from her feelings. Hoschchild makes the point that ‘when an individual changes an ideological stance, he or she drops old rules and assumes new ones’ (Hoschchild 1979, p.567). I believe humans are malleable, and the feminist movement has allowed women and men to introspectively challenge their ‘deep acting’. This is evident in women taking on new roles, breaking down oppressive ideological forces and striving for equality. The feminist movement is not a simple path and the journey to equality forces both men and women to dramatically change deeply ingrained beliefs. It is not a question of whether one can change their feeling rules, rather what challenges are faced when doing so?

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