Presentation 12. The Workplace and the Self...

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Economic Actors: The Workplace, the Market, and the Self Contextual controls and adaptive accommodative behavior
Joan P. Emerson, “Behavior in Private Places: Sustaining Definitions of Reality in Gynecological Examination,” Kari Lerum, “Precarious Situations in a Strip Club: Exotic Dancers and the Problem of Reality Maintenance.” Arlie Hochschild, “The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling,”
Workplaces Make Demands on the Self Align personal efforts with those of the organization Adopt group goals as one’s own. Subordinate a “private” self to a “public” or “formal” self. Self-control and “appropriateness.” Operate according to explicit and implicit institutional rules Apply official forms of knowledge to the situation at hand.
Joan Emerson and the Medical Examination A medical office is a place or work for the medical staff – physicians, nurses, etc. Medical work is both highly ritualized in procedures based on medical knowledge, practitioners’ experience, and institutional rules. It is also highly personal – the object of medical practice is the health and well-being of the body, and hence the person, of another. Science views “organs,” “systems,” “symptoms,” but the patient brings a whole person to the interaction Medical work requires a practitioner to bridge the gap between objective, scientific knowledge about health and illness and the subjectivity and personhood of the patient.
Controlling Desire in the Erotic Workplace Kari Lerum and the Precarious Situation of Exotic Dancers What makes a Strip Club a Precarious Situation? Successful Interactions Occur within a Minefield of Risk at several levels of experience.
The work is intimate and professional The worker appeals to a man’s private passions but maintains professional detachment – I’m really only in this for the money, and there are personal boundaries that will not be violated; but I have to pretend that he is the focus of my erotic interest and a most alluring man or I will not be paid. Too much intimacy she will be fired or experience personal degradation; too much professional detachment and the man will feel unsatisfied and not compensate her for her work or time.
Competition over Definitions of the Situation One side MUST prevail to avoid personal, workplace, and legal trouble Sex Worker must earn a living by providing a safe, appealing, sexual service to a male client Within the letter of the law and conforming to the policy and norms of the establishment Sex worker must encourage highly charged emotions and also contain them.
BOUNDARIES THAT MUST BE MAINTAINED Personal boundaries of dancer/sex work – physical and emotional integrity must be respected, she remains in control of the interaction House Rules – no touching, classy operation of a gentleman’s club Legal Limits – laws against prostitution and sexual exploitation
HOW IS PROFESSIONAL INTIMACY SUSTAINED?

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