Deery, Ruth and Fisher, Pamela (2010) 'Switching and swapping faces': performativity and emotion in midwifery. International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 3 (3). pp. 270-286. ISSN 1740-8938

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.

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