Service Workers: Governmentality and Emotion Management


  • Hing Ai Yun



Governmentality, emotion management, organismic emotion model


That all may be quiet on the shop floor could be a result of governmentality projects. But what lies beneath an appearance of professionalism? I undertook an empirical field study of workers in the service industry to examine contradictory and competing interests of employees and their employers and observed the dynamic constitution of subjectivity in situations of conflict. Based on a study of 56 service workers, this study first looks at the consensual orientation of workers towards their employment, then discusses a number of common demands required of workers in the service sector and investigates how workers deal with these management demands. My investigation of service workers disclose the internalised struggles experienced in their commitment to a prescribed, official image while attempting to maintain, at the same time, an integrous sense of self. By collecting stories of actual situations, I am able to show how patterns of emotion management, effectiveness of governmentality project, and agency work together to shape social behaviour in working life.


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How to Cite

Yun, H. A. (2010) “Service Workers: Governmentality and Emotion Management”, Culture Unbound, 2(3), pp. 311–327. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.10218311.



Theme: Culture, Work and Emotion