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Smith; Emotional Labor and the Pursuit of Happiness.docx

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Western University
Sociology 3308F/G
Kim Shuey

Smith; "Emotional Labor and the Pursuit of Happiness Sunday, February 02, 2014 1:17 PM Reason to be cheerful • Paradoxically, bad news is reason to be cheerful; because bad news upsets us, it means we are happy, and we care about bad news • Our mood depends on others • Many frontline workers; police, waiters, dentists, have to perform emotion work • Many of the people we run into everyday affect our emotions • They are "emotional laborers" • Feelings have been industrialized • We are emotional workers clients, conditions of their work affect their ability to affect us properly • emotional laborers are paid to affect our feelings Co-Presence • Emotional labor is done in the presence of other human beings • Emotional laborer has to be sure client feels that they care • Moods are infectious, one encounter influences the next "Hell is other people" • Can ential conditions that prejudice both parties • Emotional laborers may adopt a mask that creates empty service encounters • Wrong to expect individuals to become happy single handedly • Instead of seeing clients as bad and mean, it is possible to find a common ground between worker and client that is mutually nourishing • 19th century idea of "greatest happiness for greatest number" • Reform of front line work • If conditions are poor, they affect everybody's experience immediately • Fearful police matter to fearful residents because of risk of mutual violence • Headlines claiming "something needs to be done now" A common interest between client and provider • Government interventions since about 1845 have better working and living conditions • Can they better emotional conditions as well? • Principles and methods for reforming emotional labor o Utilitarianism: the greatest happiness of the greatest number o Simple corrleations; that between "wholesome water" and less infectious disease, shorter hours, longer lives, equality and happiness o Popular mobilization o Common interest between carer and client • Emotional laborers ought to treat clients well, clients also ought to treat emotional laborers well • Both sides have a common interest in good conditions of emotional labor • If carer sustains damage, wont be able to help client properly • Self-help market principle, about being a better self, individual achievement, mistrusts collective improvements • Social reformers were right in pursuing public solutions to squalor and disease, rest breaks, staturoy train-breakig systems, municipal schools, police, firefighters • Principles of self help often fail because interaction is not one way, but two way • South Africans acknowledge the wider pricinple of "becoming-people-through-other- people" • Levinas calls for heteronomy; put the other first • The obligation to the other arises from face to face contact • Potential for real, dialogue-based reforms o Patient and doctor each recognize they are mortal, fallible, and "shit happens" o Tutor happy to repay help to student they received years ago • Excellent funeral director, custody sergeant, nurse, propagate in eachother good practice • "people can stop behaving like assholes" • "screw you" pr
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