Friday, April 3, 2009

The Managed Heart

After reading Blumer, Goffman and Garfinkel, I was disappointed. As Allen comments in the latter part of the chapter, it has been very difficult for theorists to provide us with theoretical tools and frameworks that allow us to move across the macro-meso-and micro levels - without being extremely reductionistic and/or deterministic...However, at the micro level, especially the work put forward by Blumer and Garfinkel, I find it particularly difficult to draw a critical analysis. The lens is so narrow and the "situations" are so, well, situational.

With that being said, I found Hochschild's work absolutely fantastic. While Goffman alludes to the idea that a situation's meaning is prescribed for people, Hochschild anchors the different experience/actions/situations of men and women in larger social and structural situations. I thought that her analysis of marriage and the "different futures" that a husband and wife have in store are real situations that reflect the social and structural locations and expectations of men and women, especially as they are shaped by a consumer-service market economy (which is driven by mostly powerful men). I drew many parallells between Hoscshild's argument and Chafetz'. Kudos to Hoschild for a strong theoretical analysis that allows us to understand individual action, indiviudal situatedness as a matter of social phenomena.

Why do you think that Hochschild's work is classified as symbolic interactionism, given her ability and willingness to bring structural level analysis into the theory?

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