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Saying it with feeling: analysing speakable emotions

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2014 by Christine Coupland, Andrew D. Brown, Kevin Daniels, Michael Humphreys
In this article we examine accounts of emotional experiences in one organization. Drawing upon data from interviews across a range of employees, we analyse aspects of emotion, identity and power. Adopting a constructionist perspective we use a method of discourse analysis to analyse how participants constructed emotions according to tacitly understood rules regarding appropriate emotional displays. These rules were made visible through an examination of the participants' positioning strategies as they described emotional experiences. Our findings suggest that, rather than an institutionally held level of appropriate articulations of emotionality, there was a role-related, socially located rule system linked to separate categories of teachers, managers and administrative employees. The contribution of the article is threefold. First, we use in-depth case data from 44 semi-structured interviews to analyse how teachers and managers/administrators in a UK-based further education (FE) college constructed emotions according to certain rules (informal norms) regarding appropriate kinds of emotional displays. Teachers acknowledged and upgraded labelled emotions, while managers and administrators denied and downgraded accounts of emotional experiences. Second, we discuss the implications of talk about emotion for the (re)production of teachers' and managers/administrators' work identities. Third, we consider how people's talk about emotions was bound-up in relations of power.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

HUMAN RELATIONS

Volume

61

Issue

3

Pages

327 - 353 (27)

Citation

COUPLAND, C. ... et al, 2008. Saying it with feeling: analysing speakable emotions. Human Relations, 61 (3), pp. 327 - 353.

Publisher

Sage Publications / © The Author(s)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2008

Notes

This article was published in the journal, Human Relations [Sage Publications / © The Author(s)]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726708088997

ISSN

0018-7267

Language

en

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