Emotional Labor in Academia: Burdens, Metrics, and Compensation

Brandi Lawless (2018) Documenting a labor of love: emotional labor as academic labor, Review of Communication, 18:2, 85-97, DOI: 10.1080/15358593.2018.1438644

I started reading what is considered to be the seminal treatise on emotional labor, Arlie Russell Hochschild’s The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, a few months ago. This book so resonated with me that I found I wanted to note and respond to about 10 things on every page. Since that takes a lot of time and energy, I am only about 30 pages in so far.

The main thing this book has awakened in me is a strong interest in understanding what emotional labor is (essentially, it is the regulation and suppression of your own emotions in response to customer needs and expectations when performing a service-oriented job) and how it shapes workplace culture and interactions.

Brandi Lawless’s 2018 article focuses on the impact of emotional labor in academia, which is a subject I have been thinking about throughout my career, especially in the last year or so. Although Professor Lawless is a communications professor and not a librarian, I recognized myself and my librarianship practice in which she writes here.

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