The Gifts of Anger

One of my friends asked me, “Why are you writing a book about the emotions? I hate emotions! They ruin everything! They’re the worst!” I think she thought I would disagree, but she’s right! In many people’s hands, emotions can be some of the ugliest things you’ll ever see. Sometimes, I’ll see someone using anger or shame to tear someone apart, and I’ll think, “Hey, give … Read More

Five Year Overnight Success!

I just found out that a sociological study I co-authored with Janja Lalich, Ph.D. (see her books here) has been accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal. Yow! It’s so exciting! It’s a study of the lives of gay, lesbian, and questioning ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Janja first told me about the study, I laughed and thought, “Why not do a study on green-eyed male writers from … Read More

How to talk to sad, jealous, anxious kids

Okay, so my husband Tino and I are living in what I call “unintentional community,” or a condo complex. It’s a nice place near his new job, it’s month-to-month so we can look for a home, and it’s got trees and lovely plantings everywhere, so I’m not complaining. However, we’re right on top of people, so we hear the goings on, especially with a neighbor family … Read More

Targeting Emotion Work

Ooh, I just witnessed a beautiful example of emotion work and how it can surprise us! I’m standing in line at the Target, and I’m three people back from the checker. Everyone is standing around trying not to look bored. I’m studying people like I always do. The checker is a man in his 50s, slender but rather disheveled, with hair that needs cutting and a … Read More

An Introduction to Emotional Labor

In her excellent 1983 book, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, sociologist Arlie Hochschild described what she termed “emotional labor,” or the way that our emotions and emotional states are a part of what we offer (and what is expected from us) in the workplace. For instance, flight attendants must not only understand the intricacies of their physical work on airplanes, but they must also … Read More

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