Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

In critical defence of 'emotional labour': refuting Bolton's critique of Hochschild's concept

By Paul A. Brook

Abstract

Sharon Bolton’s comprehensive critique of Hochschild’s concept of ‘emotional labour’ is flawed by her misinterpretation of its primary form as an aspect of labour power. Consequently, she erroneously argues that emotional labour is commodified only when transformed into commercial service work. However, emotion workers experience commodification of their labour power as wage-labour, irrespective of the nature of their product. Bolton also argues that Hochschild’s notion of workers undergoing a ‘transmutation of feelings’ renders them ‘crippled actors’ in the grip of management control. Hochschild, however, theorizes transmutation as a contradictory and unstable condition albeit in an under-developed form. While Bolton correctly argues for a theory of emotion work that captures the complexity and contradictory nature of the emotional workplace, it is not necessary to reject the emotional labour concept. Rather, it needs to be more fully theorized and integrated within Labour Process Analysis.Peer-reviewedPost-prin

Topics: Bolton, commodification of labour, emotional labour, Hochschild, labour process analysis, CALL CENTER, MANAGED-HEART, SERVICE, WORK, CARE
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0950017009337071
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/10096
Journal:

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (2000a) ‘Emotion here, emotion there, emotional organisations everywhere’, doi
  2. (2000b) ‘Who cares? Offering emotion as a gift in the nursing labour process’, doi
  3. (1993). (Ed) Emotion in Organizations. doi
  4. (2003). Afterword to the twentieth anniversary edition’ of The Managed Heart: Commercialization of human feeling.
  5. (1993). Alienating and liberating emotions at work’, doi
  6. (2005). Appreciating emotion at work: paradigm tensions’, doi
  7. (2003). Call centre organizing in adversity: from Excell to Vertex’
  8. (2001). Changing faces: nurses as emotional jugglers’, doi
  9. (2006). Compassion at the counter: service providers and bereaved consumers’ doi
  10. (2007). Contesting the dominance of emotional labour in professional nursing’, doi
  11. (2006). Culture change management’ in
  12. (1998). Customer care in a consumer society: Smiling and sometimes meaning it’, doi
  13. (1993). Emotion in Organizations.
  14. (2005). Emotion Management in the Workplace.
  15. (1979). Emotion work, feeling rules and social structure’, doi
  16. (2002). Emotional dissonance: When the experience of an emotion jeopardizes an individual’s identity’, doi
  17. (2007). Emotional labour and identity work of men in caring roles’
  18. (1998). Emotional labour and the new workplace’ doi
  19. (1999). Emotional labour since The Managed Heart’, doi
  20. (2001). Fear, laughter, and collective power: The making of Solidarity at the Lenin Shipyard, doi
  21. (2000). Front-line responses to customer orientation programmes: a theoretical and empirical analysis’ doi
  22. (1974). History and Class Consciousness. doi
  23. (2002). Human Resource Management in Service Work, doi
  24. (2005). Human resource management: Rhetorics and realities, doi
  25. (2003). Introducing a typology of workplace emotion’,
  26. (2007). Love labour as a distinct and non-commodifiable form of care labour’, Sociological Review (online publication), doi
  27. (2002). Managing organisational culture: insights from the hospitality industry’, doi
  28. (2005). Marx: Capitalism, alienation and health’, doi
  29. (2006). Marxist thought and analysis of work’
  30. (2006). Recovering emotion from emotion management’, doi
  31. (1997). Struggles’ for the control of affect’,
  32. (2003). Subterranean worksick blues: Humour as subversion in two call centres’ doi
  33. (2005). Suppression or expression: an exploration of emotion management in a special care baby unit’, doi
  34. (1998). The Algebra of Revolution: the dialectic and the classical Marxist tradition, doi
  35. (2009). The Alienated Heart: Hochschild’s ‘emotional labour’ thesis and the anticapitalist politics of alienation’, doi
  36. (2006). The double indeterminacy of labour: labour effort and labour mobility’, doi
  37. (1992). The figures, the personality and the bums: service work and sexuality’ doi
  38. (1983). The Managed Heart: commercialization of human feeling, doi
  39. (1983). The Nature of Work: an introduction to debates on the labour process. doi
  40. (1989). The sociology of emotions and flight attendants: doi
  41. (2003). Trolley dolly or skilled emotion manager? Moving on from Hochschild’s Managed Heart’, Work, doi
  42. (2002). We recruit attitude: The selection and shaping of routine call centre labour’, doi
  43. (2004). Workplace resistance in an Irish call centre: slammin’, scammin’, doi
  44. (2006). You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’: recontextualising the origins and development of the call centre’, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.