Title

Impoverishment in San Joaquin County: Emotional labor as a coping mechanism

Lead Author Major

Sociology

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Alison Alkon

Faculty Mentor Department

Sociology

Abstract/Artist Statement

What role does emotional labor play in a social service agency? Over a six month period, we were trained as case managers to assist the homeless and impoverished in San Joaquin County at St Mary’s Dining Hall in the Social services department. While training we were able to conduct unobtrusive research with the clients permission and as case managers we were able to interview and perform a participant observation research while assisting the clients with their needs. As a Case manager, we helped assist the clients seeking shelter, food, housing assistance, clothing, job assistance, assistance applying for public benefits, immigration inquiries. LGBT assistance, homeless court, dental, medical, and mental health assistance. We found that the homeless and impoverished population wanted to be treated with respect and dignity and desired to make a change in their lives. Because of the shame related to poverty, the clients themselves used emotional labor in exchange for services. According to Hochschild, “emotional labor” is defined as “the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value” (2012). Other sociologist should be interested because many look at people in poverty as having individual problems rather than accessing the public issue th at led them to be in that predicament. Furthermore, it shows that navigating social services takes skills that homeless and other impoverished people need to develop in order to end the stigma society places on them.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

26-4-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

26-4-2014 4:40 PM

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Apr 26th, 1:00 PM Apr 26th, 4:40 PM

Impoverishment in San Joaquin County: Emotional labor as a coping mechanism

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

What role does emotional labor play in a social service agency? Over a six month period, we were trained as case managers to assist the homeless and impoverished in San Joaquin County at St Mary’s Dining Hall in the Social services department. While training we were able to conduct unobtrusive research with the clients permission and as case managers we were able to interview and perform a participant observation research while assisting the clients with their needs. As a Case manager, we helped assist the clients seeking shelter, food, housing assistance, clothing, job assistance, assistance applying for public benefits, immigration inquiries. LGBT assistance, homeless court, dental, medical, and mental health assistance. We found that the homeless and impoverished population wanted to be treated with respect and dignity and desired to make a change in their lives. Because of the shame related to poverty, the clients themselves used emotional labor in exchange for services. According to Hochschild, “emotional labor” is defined as “the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value” (2012). Other sociologist should be interested because many look at people in poverty as having individual problems rather than accessing the public issue th at led them to be in that predicament. Furthermore, it shows that navigating social services takes skills that homeless and other impoverished people need to develop in order to end the stigma society places on them.