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The Managed Heart

The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 339
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  • Book Info
    The Managed Heart
    Book Description:

    In private life, we try to induce or suppress love, envy, and anger through deep acting or "emotion work," just as we manage our outer expressions of feeling through surface acting. In trying to bridge a gap between what we feel and what we "ought" to feel, we take guidance from "feeling rules" about what is owing to others in a given situation. Based on our private mutual understandings of feeling rules, we make a "gift exchange" of acts of emotion management. We bow to each other not simply from the waist, but from the heart. But what occurs when emotion work, feeling rules, and the gift of exchange are introduced into the public world of work? In search of the answer, Arlie Russell Hochschild closely examines two groups of public-contact workers: flight attendants and bill collectors. The flight attendant’s job is to deliver a service and create further demand for it, to enhance the status of the customer and be "nicer than natural." The bill collector’s job is to collect on the service, and if necessary, to deflate the status of the customer by being "nastier than natural." Between these extremes, roughly one-third of American men and one-half of American women hold jobs that call for substantial emotional labor. In many of these jobs, they are trained to accept feeling rules and techniques of emotion management that serve the company’s commercial purpose. Just as we have seldom recognized or understood emotional labor, we have not appreciated its cost to those who do it for a living. Like a physical laborer who becomes estranged from what he or she makes, an emotional laborer, such as a flight attendant, can become estranged not only from her own expressions of feeling (her smile is not "her" smile), but also from what she actually feels (her managed friendliness). This estrangement, though a valuable defense against stress, is also an important occupational hazard, because it is through our feelings that we are connected with those around us. On the basis of this book, Hochschild was featured in Key Sociological Thinkers, edited by Rob Stones. This book was also the winner of the Charles Cooley Award in 1983, awarded by the American Sociological Association and received an honorable mention for the C. Wright Mills Award.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95185-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the 2012 Edition
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    A. R. H.
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)

      (pp. 3-23)

      In a section inDas Kapitalentitled “The Working Day,” Karl Marx examines depositions submitted in 1863 to the Children’s Employment Commission in England. One deposition was given by the mother of a child laborer in a wallpaper factory: “When he was seven years old I used to carry him [to work] on my back to and fro through the snow, and he used to work 16 hours a day. . . . I have often knelt down to feed him, as he stood by the machine, for he could not leave it or stop.” Fed meals as he worked,...

      (pp. 24-34)

      One day at Delta’s Stewardess Training Center an instructor scanned the twenty-five faces readied for her annual Self-Awareness Class set up by the company in tandem with a refresher course in emergency procedures required by the Federal Aviation Administration. She began: “This is a class on thought processes, actions, and feelings. I believe in it. I have to believe in it, or I couldn’t get up here in front of you and be enthusiastic.” What she meant was this: “Being a sincere person, I couldn’t say one thing to you and believe in another. Take the fact of my sincerity...

      (pp. 35-55)

      We all do a certain amount of acting. But we may act in two ways. In the first way, we try to change how we outwardly appear. As it is for the people observed by Erving Goffman, the action is in the body language, the put-on sneer, the posed shrug, the controlled sigh. This is surface acting.¹ The other way is deep acting. Here, display is a natural result of working on feeling; the actor does not try toseemhappy or sad but rather expresses spontaneously, as the Russian director Constantin Stanislavski urged, a real feeling that has been...

      (pp. 56-75)

      Since feeling is a form of pre-action, a script or a moral stance toward it is one of culture’s most powerful tools for directing action.¹ How do we sense these scripts or, as I shall call them, feeling rules? In this chapter we discuss the various ways in which all of us identify a feeling rule and the ways in which we discover that we are out of phase with it — ways which include noting the duration, strength, time, and placement of a feeling. We explore the areas of love, hate, grief, and jealousy, to which these private rules...

      (pp. 76-86)

      All of us try to feel, and pretend to feel, but we seldom do so alone. Most often we do it when we exchange gestures or signs of feeling with others. Taken together, emotion work, feeling rules, and interpersonal exchange make up our private emotional system. We bow to each other not only from the waist but from the heart. Feeling rules set out what is owed in gestures of exchange between people. They enable us to assess the worth of an outward tear or an inward attempt to feel sad for the Miss Mallons in our lives. Looking at...


    • 6 FEELING MANAGEMENT: From Private to Commercial Uses
      (pp. 89-136)

      When rules about how to feel and how to express feeling are set by management, when workers have weaker rights to courtesy than customers do, when deep and surface acting are forms of labor to be sold, and when private capacities for empathy and warmth are put to corporate uses, what happens to the way a person relates to her feelings or to her face? When worked-up warmth becomes an instrument of service work, what can a person learn about herself from her feelings? And when a worker abandons her work smile, what kind of tie remains between her smile...

    • 7 BETWEEN THE TOE AND THE HEEL: Jobs and Emotional Labor
      (pp. 137-161)

      The corporate world has a toe and a heel, and each performs a different function: one delivers a service, the other collects payment for it. When an organization seeks to create demand for a service and then deliver it, it uses the smile and the soft questioning voice. Behind this delivery display, the organization’s worker is asked to feel sympathy, trust, and good will. On the other hand, when the organization seeks to collect money for what it has sold, its worker may be asked to use a grimace and the raised voice of command. Behind this collection display the...

      (pp. 162-184)

      More emotion management goes on in the families and jobs of the upper classes than in those of the lower classes. That is, in the class system, social conditions conspire to make it more prevalent at the top. In the gender system, on the other hand, the reverse is true: social conditions make it more prevalent, and prevalent in different ways, for those at the bottom — women. In what sense is this so? And why?

      Both men and women do emotion work, in private life and at work. In all kinds of ways, men as well as women get...

      (pp. 185-198)

      When Jean-Jacques Rousseau observed that personality was becoming a form of capital he was writing about eighteenth-century Paris, long before there were stewardess training schools and long before the arts of bill collecting were standardized and mass produced.¹ If Rousseau could sign on as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines in the second half of the twentieth century, he would doubtless be interested in learning justwhosecapital a worker’s feelings are and justwhois putting this capital to work. He would certainly see that although the individual personality remains a “medium of competition,” the competition is no longer...

    (pp. 199-208)

    AfterThe Managed Heartfirst appeared, I began to receive visits from flight attendants, nurses, and others who did emotional labor for a living and to receive long letters from scholars who wanted to study it. From both, I learned much more about emotional labor than I knew when I wrote the book. Some flight attendants flew in from London, Sydney, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York (flight attendants are a mobile lot). And when I traveled by air myself, some flight attendants caught the name and warmly wrung my hand. Twice I was offered a free bottle of wine. Several...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-332)