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Title: Emotional fools and dangerous robots: Postcolonial engagements with emotion management
Authors: Patni, Rachana
Keywords: Emotion management;Disaster;Humanitarian;Post-colonial;Professionalization
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University Brunel Business School PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis examines the context and practices of emotion management for National workers in International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) through a study of national workers recruited into disaster intervention in India. The research draws on postcolonial theory and problematizes current work exploring the implications of race and intersectionality within emotion management. The data collection strategy involved a narrative-based semi-structured interview process with a view to surfacing social and discursive constructions. The interpretation comprised of three levels of reading that included explication, explanation and exploration based reading using postcolonial and poststructural-feminist theories. Results highlight the dominance of neoliberal practices in INGOs and explain how these practices foreground various colonial continuities in the ways in which INGOs respond to disasters. Neoliberal practices inform and impact on the emotion management of National workers as they create a masculine and instrumental emotion regime where emotions and compassion are seen as dispensable. The colonial continuities on which neoliberalism draws, have an impact on the relationships between National and Expatriate workers. These relationships become ‘emotional encounters’ based on asymmetries that disadvantage the former. This understanding paves the way for proposing changes in contemporary disaster management practices. In this context the emotion management of National workers is a complex performance. These complex performances are linked to the postcolonial concepts of mimicry, sly-civility and hybridity and to the operation of power through desires and subjectivity. Through this context based interpretation, emotion management and theorising can be extended in useful ways. In particular, I go beyond the normative nature of much current theorising. In doing so I am able to consider emotion management as an ‘embodied emotional performance’ that places additional stress on stigmatised identities. This formulation helps break down the binaries that inform our current conceptualisation of emotion management such as emotion work and emotional labour; surface and deep acting; real and fake emotions; felt and expressed emotions. It also blurs the distinction between emotional labour and aesthetic labour. Further, it helps identify different forms of resistance to neoliberal dictates about the role of emotions in organizations. This allows for the recognition that embodied emotional performances enable conformity as well as creative resistance against emotion norms in organizations.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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