Emotional Labour: Concept and Practical Categorizations in Light of Covid Critical Care Nursing

Paper Title:

Emotional Labour: Concept and Practical Categorizations in Light of Covid Critical Care Nursing

Journal Title:

Shifting Categories of work: Unsettling the ways we think about Jobs and Activities

Published Date:

Authors:

McMurray, R. Credland, N.
Griffin, M. Hamilton, P.
Harness, O. Jamie, K.

Abstract:

This chapter appears in Lisa Herzog and Benedicte Zimmerman’s edited book Shifting Categories of Work. It¬†considers the changing nature and recognition of emotional labor as a category of work. Over 40 years of scholarship have tracked and conceptualized emotion at work; marking those features that link or delineate one occupation from another according to task, performance and context. Utilizing research with Critical Care Nurses in the UK, this chapter illuminates the changing face of emotional labor. We show how and why emotional labor has come to be recognized, the different forms that it takes, its relation to reason and its impact on workers. We pay particular attention to the ways in which emotional labor is altered by contextual factors such as the site of enactment, temporality and embodied verses virtual encounters. In terms of its affects, we consider the ways in which emotional labor can act as a source of professional pride and occupational virtue, while also carrying the threat of dissonance, burnout and alienation. These affects draw attention to the obligations that might attend such categories of work. We conclude by noting that responsibilities for these affects are likely diffused, touching upon individuals, educators, occupational bodies and, perhaps most importantly, the managers, leaders and systems that constitute employers.

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