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Emotional labour in action: navigating multiple involvement in the beauty salon

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Publication details

JournalSociology: A Journal of the British Sociological Association
DatePublished - Aug 2007
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)645-662
Original languageEnglish


Building on Hochschild's path-breaking analysis of service providers' `emotional labour', this article demonstrates some of the interactional skills required for emotional labour to be performed. Using conversation analysis (CA), we examine a single case from a database of recorded beauty salon interactions. The episode was chosen because it makes visible the mechanics of how a beauty therapist manages conflict between her `multiple involvements' in the salon: between her simultaneous engagement in topic talk and hair removal. We show first how she navigates this conflict and then how her actions may be understood as an example of emotional labour. The article addresses, then, both the feminist concern with making visible the skills of emotional labour and the conversation analytic concern with how participants manage multiple involvements in a socially meaningful way.

    Research areas

  • beauty therapy, conversation analysis, emotional labour, feminist sociology

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