EMOSOL „Emotional regimes and solidarity in interaction work”

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Betzelt

Cooperation: Universität Kassel, Prof. Dr. Ingo Bode

Funding: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung

Project period: 01.04.2020 - 31.03.2022

The project examines associations between emotional pressures and attitudes towards solidarity within organisations providing elderly care and special vocational training, with an eye on both internal relations and the encounter with user groups. The background are rising objective uncertainties for such organisations due to: increasing economic risks (enhanced competition), pressures from quality inspection, and managerialist governance translating, among other things, into precarious employment conditions. Given a general decline of social cohesion in contemporary welfare capitalism, we are interested both in these objective constraints as well as the subjective processes of handling them, including with regard to the encounter between workers and users who themselves often feel anxious about their life prospects. The investigation is organised by case studies based on different types of qualitative data (organisations’ documents, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, expert interviews). Our hypothesis is that the rising (objective) uncertainties and the aforementioned pressures lead to a new kind of “emotion regime” in which anxiety and / or frustration proliferate and echo similar feelings in society at large. We assume that internal and external dynamics are interrelated and combine to impact on attitudes and practices of solidarity between employees, with vulnerable user groups, and also regarding other social groups perceived as competing for welfare resources. Moreover, we seek to gain knowledge about how emotional strain might be reduced in the work settings under study.

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