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Emotional Labor in the Service Industry

In the opinion of Bericat (2016, 8), the contemporary sociological theories are significant to describe the emotional changes in society due to several social phenomena. It further looks after different kinds of human behaviors in terms of changing phenomena in society. The evolution of society in terms of emotions, behavioral patterns, and attitudes of the people present in society. The present study has aimed to review the book named “The Managed Heart” written by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Arlie Russell Hochschild is a great sociologist who has discussed sociological concepts and human behavior in different situations in the selected book. The emotions of the people in different social phenomena have been focused on by the present study to attract better effectiveness in the present scenario. Apart from that, the study has covered the aims of the book in the sociological scenario. Further, the study has covered the contribution of the present book in teaching sociological perspectives. It has further analyzed the entire study to attract better effectiveness in reaching the desired outcomes by the present study.

“The Managed Heart” written by Arlie Russell Hochschild has highlighted the hidden feelings within individuals living in a society. He has further emphasized the differentiation of women in terms of emotional labor along with its reason with the changing sociological phenomenon. The significance of feeling in the sociological aspect has been further addressed by the book. The author has focused on the service provider industry as everyone in the society expects different kinds of services with a smile from the sides of the human resources working in the industries (Hochschild, 1883, 4). The aim of the present book is to contribute the sociological perspectives by describing the concept of emotion and feeling management. The study has further aimed to discuss the scenario regarding professional life and the significance of feelings and emotions. Apart from that, the different scenarios due to gender differences have been addressed by the study. This book has been addressed to contribute to the emotional wellbeing of the people present in the society. Human behaviors have been observed closely in the present book to evaluate the facts.

The service providers face several difficulties throughout the day to maintain that friendly attitude with everyone irrespective of different situations and behaviors. This has been stated as emotional labor in the book written by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Emotional labor is the pattern of work where people manage their feelings to corporate with the needs of the job role. The flight attendants have been highlighted in the present scenario to describe the emotional labor. This process for the flight attendants initiates from their training days where they are trained to smile genuinely. Without the engagement of emotional work, the flight attendants can not perform effectively with cheerful and warm nature. In terms of missing these attributes, the passengers will consider the service as inadequate. The job of the actors is highlighted as they are engaged with presenting illusions by engaging emotional labor to portrayed the emotion of the character is being played. Several differences have been presented by the book in emotional labor due to gender differences and professional differences.

Feeling Management and Sociological Perspectives

Feeling management is further encouraged by the book and further discussed that the emotional factors reveal the attitudes of individuals toward others. Emotions such as sadness, excitement, boredom are powerful signals which reveal the significance of surroundings (Hochschild, 1883, 17). It is further observed that with the passing time of life people feel less association with the old friends and the people don’t find that attachment with the old friend. Due to the different situations, the emotions associated with people get changed. Further, it has been highlighted by the book that emotional labor and social rules play a major role in lives. Feelings get changed with time and situations that are needed to be considered to manage own feelings.

In chapter 2 of the present book, the author has described the feelings. He further elaborated that feeling can affect the heart race, adrenalin rise, and other physical conditions (Hochschild, 1883, 25). In response, the individual breaks down out of extreme emotion. But showing emotions in front of others is not acceptable in the service industry and is further considered unprofessional. The author has further established the feeling as a clue for something more. Emotions and feelings are reflections of the current mood of an individual. The jobs that involve emotional labor in the process cause disconnection between the real emotions and desired emotions during the job. An individual feels guilty due to the lees or more feeling for a situation in terms of what the person has been taught to be felt. The book has presented an example where a woman was there whose husband nationally ranked in the gymnastic and further he is getting a chance to head Japan to train gymnastics for the competition. Additionally, he gets the opportunity to travel the world and compete in the present segment. The wife was holding down and further, the people in the society asked about the reason. The wife in this regard pretended to be excited that was not real and the expression of her feelings was not up to the expectation (Hochschild, 1883, 45). Inside her heart, she was felt depressed. The author stated this example to illustrate how individuals force themselves to feel in a certain manner. Therefore in the end the social norms and emotional labor are directing the lives of the individuals in terms of what the people should feel in a certain scenario.

Chapter 4 of this book has elaborated on the inequality of emotional work between men and women. The author has further elaborated that American women feel emotions widely compared to men. Additionally, they are better than the man to manage the expressions. This scenario is further elaborating the sociological perspective of emotions and feelings. As the women have been observed to say words to make someone feel bad. Women have been observed to attract advantages by cultivating emotional art.  However, the book indicated that these skills are natural for women. The emotional effort to upgrade the status is known as Shadow labor (Hochschild, 1883, 167).  Further women’s emotional labor often get unnoticed in terms of household efforts performed by them. Shadow labor has been identified as the niceness for societal interactions. It is to make others happy especially when the individual is working in the commercial field.  "the Managed Heart" further explored a study where students are preferring female professors compared to male professors as females have been noticed with warmer and more supportive nature (Hochschild, 1883, 168). In the case of women, emotional work has become more public, standardized, and systematic. Emotional work and emotional labor have been observed to be performed by middle-class women in public-contact jobs.

Gender Differences and Inequality in Emotional Labor

In chapter 5 of "The Managed Heart", it is described that feeling of the women's feelings gets less priority compared to the men. The book has described that even in the scenario of equality among different genders women experience imbalance while performing extra emotional labor. They are suffering from a lower status compared to men in terms of emotions and feelings. It is further observed that the opinions of the women get rejected and ignored often compared to a man. It is because of their training regarding controlling emotions and feelings from early childhood. In case of getting failed to control the feeling society offers less value to the woman versus a man. As an example provided by the author, the man can get out of control due to anger but in the case of women present in the society, the same thing is considered irrational and unstable (Hochschild, 1883, 18).

In chapter 6 of the book, it has been understood that emotional work is an essential part of both work and life. It is further described that in the case of household work the emotional labor is unacknowledged and unnoticed. Shadow labor has been analyzed as a major problem for the women who depend on a man financially. In this book feelings and emotions are highlighted as a currency in the sociological aspect that is engaged to pay to the people who are of higher status (Hochschild, 1883, 84). It has been further analyzed that the same job can be different for a man compared to a woman as the feeling of the women gets ignored and rejected often.

As critically argued by Emmelhainz, Pappas and Seale (2017, 30), emotional labor is the key factor of labor in the present sociological aspect. Further, the book is majorly focused on the feminist outlook for emotions and feelings. It is further critiqued that the book named "The Managed Heart" written by Arlie Russell Hochschild has not recommended anything to overcome the critical scenario presented by the book.  As argued by du Plessis and Sørensen (2017, 181), the author in the book “The Managed Heart” has elaborated the relationship between emotion and culture. Further during describing the emotional labor framework, the concepts can lead to a critique of ideal worker and neoliberalism in contemporary work life. Further, it can be said that the book is not completely applicable for the modern scenario, as the situation of women has been changed with the changing society approaches.

In conclusion, it can be said that “The Managed Heart” written by Arlie Russell Hochschild has a great contribution in the sociological aspects in terms of describing emotional labor and feeling management. Further, the book has highlighted the sociological scenario for the women compared to the men present in society. The unnoticed and unacknowledged emotional labor for the women has been analyzed as a responsible factor behind the emotional imbalance among the women. Further, the nature of changes in terms of feeling and association with others present in the society has been well highlighted by stating several examples. The service providers industry and its work culture have been portrayed in the study. Further, the culture of the present society in terms of emotional labor to pay the higher status has been analyzed to understand the societal culture and inequalities regarding higher status. The criticism of the book is highlighted by the study in terms of missing recommendations to overcome the scenario, feminist outlook, and contradiction of neoliberalism to evaluate the sociological outcomes by the present book. In spite of the criticism of the book, it can be said that the book is effective to discuss the social phenomenon by highlighting the social culture. Apart from that, the negligence toward women in terms of emotions and feeling are needed to be addressed to offer a better work-life balance for the women.

References 

Bericat, E. (2016). The sociology of emotions: Four decades of progress. Current Sociology, 64(3), 491-513.

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.842.5498&rep=rep1&type=pdf

du Plessis, E. M., & Sørensen, P. K. (2017). An interview with Arlie Russell Hochschild: Critique and the sociology of emotions: Fear, neoliberalism and the acid rainproof fish. Theory, Culture & Society, 34(7-8), 181-187. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Erik-Du-Plessis-

2/publication/320971129_An_Interview_with_Arlie_Russell_Hochschild_Critique_and_the_Sociology_of_Emotions_Fear_Neoliberalism_and_the_Acid_Rainproof_Fish/links/5f01ea1d299bf188160385d5/An-Interview-with-Arlie-Russell-Hochschild-Critique-and-the-Sociology-of-Emotions-Fear-Neoliberalism-and-the-Acid-Rainproof-Fish.pdf

Emmelhainz, C., Pappas, E., & Seale, M. (2017). Behavioral expectations for the mommy librarian: the successful reference transaction as emotional labor.

https://escholarship.org/content/qt2mq851m0/qt2mq851m0.pdf

Hochschild, A. R. (1883). The managed heart. University of California press.

https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1525/9780520951853/pdf

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My Assignment Help. 'The Managed Heart: A Sociological Perspective On Emotional Labor' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/soci3100h-contemporary-sociological-theory/contemporary-sociological-theories-file-A1E0109.html> accessed 01 March 2024.

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