Arlie hochschild: the managed heart

Hochschild is well-known for her work on “emotion management” and its connection to social hierarchies, especially gender. For Hochschild, emotions are not experiences given from biological or psychological processes, but rather are created; they are actively produced and managed by individuals in the course of interactions with other people. Emotion work refers to the conscious effort to create, manage or suppress particular feelings. This also leads to the concept of emotion labor, where an individual’s emotions are performed as part of a job or work role.

In the reading, you should be able to recognize the influence of the rational-utilitarian theoretical tradition (see Collins, pp. 143-144), the microsociological branch of the Durkheimian tradition, specifically interaction rituals (see Collins, pp. 219-222), various strands of conflict theory, and the microinteractionist tradition, specifically the work of Erving Goffman, that we will be studying in a couple of weeks. So Hochschild’s work is an excellent example of how contemporary sociologists can draw on diverse theoretical traditions in pursuit of a particular research issue.

In the discussion, let’s start with this task of relating her work to these theoretical perspectives. For your first post, talk about which perspective you think her work is most related to, in a way that you find interesting.