Doing Emotion Work and Presentational Self-Control at Work: What Impact is this Having on Employees?

Michelle Addison

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In this paper I discuss how being able to let off steam is important to employees at work, as a way of relieving the pressures of emotion work and presentational self-control. This is based on qualitative data collected from 31 semi-structured interviews with employees in a workplace setting. Tracy (2005) highlights how having space to let off steam at work, without worrying about judgements or doing emotion work, is invaluable to employees. My work supports this, and adds to it by showing that disparities of power to do with hierarchical position or social position (Bourdieu, 1984) mean that some people appear to have more freedom than others to vent their frustrations at work. This is important in that for every person who has a space to vent, there appears to be another person listening and doing emotion work themselves. My argument here then is that some people seem to have fewer outlets than others to relax and ease the tensions that are incurred through doing emotion work and presentational self-control at work. The intent of this paper is to stimulate sociological discussion around emotion work and presentational self-control, particularly related to a workplace setting.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2015
EventBSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference 2015 - University of York, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 201511 Sept 2015


ConferenceBSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleMedSoc15
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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