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This article examines the dialogic relationship between emotional reflexivity and emotional regime as it explores ‘the hukou puzzle’ in China. In theory, migrants in small- to medium-scale cities can transfer their hukou (household registration) to urban areas, yet are unwilling to do so in practice. Relying on six months’ ethnographic fieldwork and 60 in-depth interviews with ethnic migrant performers, this article argues that previous theorisation of the hukou puzzle neglects emotions and assumes migrants are making rational choices to maximise their profits. In reality, different emotions and feelings inform migrants’ reflexivity regarding an opaque migration regime, which highlights the crucial role of how they exercise their reflexivity in emotional and relational ways. Moreover, a neoliberal emotional regime at the Chinese societal level – which emphasises positive energy, happiness and ‘the China Dream’  – also significantly shapes migrants’ emotional reflexivity. This article points to the need to further explore the intersection between emotional reflexivity and emotional regime in relation to migration.

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Various studies have examined emotional labour’s positive and negative aspects, but the structural conditions under which people experience emotional labour as fulfilling vs. taxing are underexplored. In this study, I use interviews with graduate students – a group whose relative social status changes routinely – to illuminate the types of emotion work that occasion positive and negative feelings. I find that graduate students often felt positive when performing emotional labour down the academic hierarchy to undergraduate students but felt negative about their emotional labour when performing it up the academic hierarchy to professors. I also find that women, people of colour and international students find their emotional labour particularly distressing when they perceive it to be an expectation of their marginalised social identity. Using identity theory, I show how status dynamics underlie people's emotional reactions when their identities are at risk of being disconfirmed. This research study contributes to the field of the sociology of emotions by specifying that status matters for whether emotional labour is a positive or negative experience for workers.

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This article highlights the concept of emotion regime while discussing available applications. It then applies the regime concept to two distinct periods in 20th-century US history: the first, from early in the century through the 1950s, stressing emotional restraint, and the more recent opening to more vigorous emotional expression. The article ends with a discussion of the causes and significance of the change.

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In this article, we consider how heterosexual young people navigate emotionality in their early dating practices. We draw on the ‘cold intimacy’ thesis (Hochschild, 1994; Illouz, 2007; 2012; 2018) that posits that emotions have increasingly become things to be evaluated, measured, quantified and categorised. Within the context of intimate relationships, research suggests that while young people are often open about the physical aspects of casual sex, they are reluctant to demonstrate emotional attachment, with vulnerability deemed shameful (Wade, 2017). Drawing on in-depth interviews with UK-based dating app users aged 18–25, we find that emotional attachment is rarely articulated, and is seen as a sign of weakness in the early stages of a relationship. For our participants, emotions become bargaining chips, with the ‘winner’ being the party with the least to lose, the least invested and the least emotionally attached. While this applies to both the young men and women interviewed, our findings demonstrate a gendered imbalance of power in intimate relationships, as female participants express a fear of emotional hurt, while male participants work to avoid potential rejection and humiliation. As a result, most connections remain suspended in what we identify as the ‘failed talking stage’. This is underpinned by the removal of channels of accountability, coupled with entrenched heteronormative sexual scripts shaping gender roles at this stage.

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The rapid spread of conversational AI, as well as the potential for personal conversations with chatbots, makes it relevant to examine what norms and values underlie chatbot responses. This article examines the feeling rules for anger implicitly communicated by a recent chatbot (ChatGPT). Querying the chatbot about appropriate and inappropriate anger, the study shows how specific feeling rules are articulated by AI. The chatbot communicates norms of productive, respectful, constructive, controlled and calm expression of anger through talk and, as such, relies on communication as a pervasive cultural repertoire. Based on a rereading of Boltanski and Thévenot’s (2006) economies of worth focusing on feeling rules, it is argued that different moral repertoires have implications for feeling rules. Using this theoretical framework to analyse the responses of the chatbot, it is evident that it primarily relies on both the industrial and the domestic orders of worth to assess anger. The chatbot articulates the problem of anger as unproductiveness and disrespect. The feeling rules implied in the responses of the chatbot reflect a neoliberal conception of self as individually responsible, productive, self-regulating, emotionally competent and able to find solutions. The seemingly neutral advice of the chatbot potentially depoliticises anger, disciplines people to remain productive and respectful and narrows the scope of anger expressions that are deemed acceptable.

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Building on interviews with 31 Swedish mothers and drawing on the concepts of emotion work, feeling rules, and cultural, economic and social capital, the article examines the emotion management mothers of neurodivergent and school-absent children carry out as they navigate school and care systems to improve their children’s situation. Three main findings are presented: (1) the mothers were left with a burdensome individual responsibility to obtain support for their children in the education and care sectors, and while doing so, they were expected to follow feeling rules emphasising reason, calmness and a constructive attitude; (2) the emotion work the mothers carried out in relation to the feeling rules was underscored by mother blame; and (3) the mothers’ emotion work was marked by their cultural, economic and social capital, though not always in a straightforward way.

The article contributes to research on mother blame by illuminating the underexplored issue of emotion work among mothers experiencing mother blame. The results also add to previous research on mother blame and social class by demonstrating when and how mothers’ cultural, economic and social capital helps them fend off mother blame and when such resources play a more ambiguous role.

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This study integrates the literature on neoliberal subjectivities with the sociology of emotions, and particularly the notion of feeling rules, to understand the political subjectivity expressions in Latvia where the post-Soviet neoliberal development brought high income and wealth inequality. We specifically ask what the relationship between collective emotions and neoliberal political subjectivity in post-Soviet space is. Based on our empirical data, we construct three ideal types of political subjectivities wherein each holds a different narrative about the neoliberal state. We show the first two dominated among our respondents in Latvia while the third was prevalent among emigrant Latvians. We find that respondents’ narratives dominant at home were framed by neoliberal feeling rules which fostered optimistic thinking (narrative of resilience) and feelings of individual responsibility (narrative of legitimating) silencing the emotion of anger necessary to form a critical democratic dialogue with the state. Meanwhile, emigrant Latvians voiced a more socially and politically aware critique towards the Latvian state, austerity politics and social injustice (narrative of anger). We provide implications for this theory of post-Soviet political subjectivities at the end.

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