The Managed Heart Summary Essay

1467 Words May 23rd, 2015 6 Pages
The Managed Heart

Although originally written in 1983, The Managed Heart is still an up to date look at an interesting concept: combining emotional feelings with the work one does. At first glance, the notion that emotions may have an impact on one’s work environment seems almost a non-issue. However, Hochschild is not saying that; rather, Hochschild looks at the effect of emotions in the workplace, but also the interaction of those emotions with the work itself. The author’s interest in this topic began at an early age, 12, when she recounts an event in her life: her parents, part of the U.S. Foreign Service, entertained diplomats. Hochschild describes the question that came to her mind as she looked up into the smiling face of a
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Emotional labor, a term coined by Hochschild, refers to the suppression of one’s personal feelings, and the use of emotions to better benefit your employer, along with your physical labor, to properly do one’s job. Hochschild compares Marx’s question of the fairness of using someone as an instrument of labor and the cost of that usage in human terms. Hochschild takes this question a step further when she considers the cost involved when we look at how some industries expect one to use their emotional labor as part of their day to day production at work. She uses the analogy of a 19th century factory worker, a child, to compare with a 20th century flight attendant. Her point is to the child, the outcome of a good day’s work is the amount of product produced, in this case, wallpaper. The outcome of a good day for the flight attendant would be a happy passenger. But as part of the input into that work, the flight attendant is expected to use their emotional capital as part of the process by which to please the passenger.
Attendants are told to treat the passengers as someone they know; Hochschild calls this the “living room analogy” (p 105). The passengers are not people you know, but by training flight attendants in this nature, they are called upon to look at each person as their mom, dad, son, daughter, sister, and brother - someone they would have into

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