Title: 'Switching and swapping faces': performativity and emotion in midwifery

Authors: Ruth Deery, Pamela Fisher

Addresses: Centre for Health and Social Care Research, The University of Huddersfield, Human and Health Research Building, Queensgate, HD1 3DH, Huddersfield, UK. ' Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences, The University of Huddersfield, Ramsden Building, Queensgate, HD1 3DH, Huddersfield, UK

Abstract: Managing and performing emotions to support women service users and colleagues can leave midwives feeling emotionally drained. The necessity to |perform| emotion, associated with reorganisations in the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (UK), has contributed towards a prevailing understanding of clinical practice as performance based. In this paper, two types of emotional work within midwifery are explored: |emotional labour| and |philanthropic emotion work|. Data from two studies in the north of England are presented. In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with midwives and subsequently analysed using thematic analysis. The findings indicate that emotional labour and philanthropic emotional work are unacknowledged and undervalued within midwifery. In addition, this has negative repercussions for the quality of the service provided whilst also undermining the creation of an emotionally and intellectually sustaining working environment for midwives.

Keywords: midwives; emotion work; sustainability; ecologies of practice; economies of performance; performativity; midwifery; women service users; female colleagues; NHS reorganisation; National Health Service; United Kingdom; UK; clinical practice; performance based activities; emotional labour; philanthropic emotion; England; focus groups; thematic analysis; service quality; working environments; empowerment; work organisation; emotion; virtual feelings; visceral feelings.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2010.032926

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2010 Vol.3 No.3, pp.270 - 286

Published online: 05 May 2010 *

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