Our growing Sociology list has a global outlook featuring high-quality research across emerging and established areas in the field, such as digital sociology, migration, gender, race and ethnicity, public sociology, and children and families.
Our series include the bestselling 21st Century Standpoints, in collaboration with the British Sociological Association, and the Sociology of Diversity and Public Sociology series.
We publish leading journals in the field, including Emotions and Society in association with the European Sociological Association's (ESA) Research Network on Sociology of Emotions (RN11) as well as Families, Relationships and Societies and the Journal of Gender-Based Violence.
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Recent research has investigated the emotional underpinnings of support for the political new right. Some of these works focus on the supply-side of support, emphasising specific political styles and discourses, whereas others emphasise the demand-side, highlighting cultural, economic and emotional factors. Lacking from this research, in particular for the European context, is an understanding of how supporters of the new right experience and make sense of pertinent cleavages with regard to emotions. The present study sets out to acquire a more detailed understanding of the emotional narratives of supporters of the new right, in particular with regard to fear and religious cleavages. Using group interviews with supporters of new right parties and movements in Germany, we show that narratives involving fear pertain to the idea of a valued collective ‘We’ that consists of political and cultural elements, and serves as a reference point to collective identity and an antidote to existential insecurities. Further, the collective We is perceived to be threatened by cultural differences and changing majority-minority relations with respect to five domains of social life: demography, liberal democratic order, public majority culture, security and welfare.
Twenty years after the outbreak of the Second Intifada and with the collapse of the Oslo Peace Process, many Israelis perceive the conflict with Palestinians as inevitable and unsolvable, yet some still mobilise for peace. This article investigates the meaning of hope for Jewish and Arab-Palestinian peace activists who joined the two newest peace movements in Israel, Women Wage Peace (2014) and Standing Together (2015). The article draws on qualitative methodologies – in-depth interviews with activists and ethnographic work conducted from 2018 to 2021. It finds that within the context of a protracted conflict, in addition to the distant and more abstract objective of peace, activists view hope as an objective in and of itself. As an attachment to a political vision, a capacity to imagine positive change or a visceral substance, activists embrace hope to consolidate their collective identity, protect themselves from crippling emotions such as despair, resignation and cynicism and/or regain spirituality. Far from being a fraudulent form of hope, the article suggests that this is a radical, authentic and active form of hope to save what can be a political vision, the shattered dream of peace, that remains central to the activists’ sense of identity and belonging. This hope is valuable: it mobilises Israeli peace activists and allows them to avoid despair as they refuse to accept the protracted conflict reality as an unchangeable given.
This article explores the emotional challenges of digital documentation practices in child protection social work. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Swedish social services, it explores how social workers negotiate organisational and professional feeling rules when performing child protection investigations using a digital documentation-based structure. Theoretically informed by Arlie Hochschild and other emotion sociologists’ discussions on the origins of feeling rules at work, the study concentrates on how organisational feeling rules challenge professional ideals and force situated negotiations. The documentation structure was introduced and framed as a guarantee that social workers would no longer be guided by emotions but by facts; at the same time, new emotional dilemmas arose when professionals worked according to these ideals. Negotiations between organisational and professional feeling rules were identified regarding traces of emotional work in the documentation, compliance with documentation-based routines in unpredictable client interactions, and professional (dis)satisfaction when documenting activities took time away from meeting with clients. Adding to the existing body of research, the study demonstrates that digital documentation practices deepen the increasingly ambivalent place for emotions in social work and that organisational-administrative emotional regimes are negotiated in situ with other ideals by social workers and frontline managers. By giving examples of social workers’ micro-resistance to organisational feeling rules, the study contributes theoretically with insights into the different origins of feeling rules in professional welfare work and the power (a)symmetry between them. Finally, by situating the tensions between competing ideals in everyday practice, the study adds to the understanding of technostress and emotional fatigue.
This article suggests that the new feeling rules of intimacy within heterosexual couple relationships are widely recognised and reflect the contention that an androgynisation of the value of emotion is taking place (), whereby men are expected to disclose emotion and provide emotional support to female partners. Simultaneously, the new feeling rules are recognised to be difficult to follow for men due to the highly gendered nature of emotion work in heterosexual relationships suggesting talk of emotion has changed while the practice has not. Drawing on interview data collected in the UK (13 male and 15 female), this article suggests that the new feeling rules can be broken down into three distinct areas associated with the highly desirable status of being a ‘good partner’: (a) being ‘emotionally skilled’, (b) disclosing emotion and (c) performing relational emotion work. This analysis enables a critical appreciation of how the inequalities of emotion work can be reproduced as part of the pursuit of having a ‘good relationship’ (mainly unquestioningly) and sets out a new way of looking at the relationship between emotion work, gender and equality.
As the two Amazon case studies have been isolated from one another to grasp their complexity, this chapter contrasts these and contextualizes them within the larger platform economy. It highlights how the case of Amazon warehouse workers illustrates, on the one hand, the historical continuation of traditional time-wage laboring where workers are assembled in the same physical space within the platform economy, sharing similarities with platforms such as Google. MTurk, on the other hand, sheds light on a different historical continuation, namely of piece-laboring, adopted by capital into the new dimension of the digital. Although even other time-wage laboring platforms are known to contract labor and depend on the ghost work of laborers like that of MTurk, the MTurk case is meant to give insights into the significance of laboring remotely through the web and that of piecework. The gig economy is founded precisely on the latter, constituting an essential part of the platform economy (see also location-based gig platforms). This chapter ultimately highlights how the platform economy may contain some peculiarities, but ultimately (re)produces current capitalist trends towards algorithmic management of labor processes, hypertaylorization of work, fragmentation of the workforce and precarization of the labor market.
This chapter examines the second case study, Amazon Mechanical Turk. In stark contrast to warehouse workers, these are organized on a web-based platform to complete piecework. This chapter investigates the relation of these dimensions to the alienation of MTurk workers regarding their labor activity, the product of labor, their species-being and their fellow humans. These are premised on an anonymized relation between the worker, who receives an alphanumerical ID, and the requester, who may not identify themselves on the platform. Workers are essentially regarded as independent contractors onto whom all possible costs are shifted, with the exception of Amazon’s physical and digital infrastructure in the form of the MTurk platform. Laboring microtasks, termed Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), from behind their screens, workers are confronted within various hyperoutsourced and virtual assembly and production lines across geographical and temporal zones. These gigs can range from classifying videos to identifying objects and answering surveys for which workers receive a piece-wage upon their completion and evaluation. Their human labor, and their labor products in the form of data, can be further used for machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) more generally. This can prove to be central to general contemporary and future technological developments which are bound to have their own repercussions.
It is becoming increasingly clear: platforms, formerly hidden behind the veils of entrepreneurship, are (re)shaping the world of work and workers. As Amazon has become a forerunner in setting these trends, this book examines two key and contrasting Amazon platforms: its e-commerce platform and its digital labor platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). By accessing the workers of the (digital) shop floor, it explores how different organizations of platforms estrange and alienate workers, and how, despite these conditions, workers organize within their political-economic contexts to express their agency. To do so, it differentiates between the nature of the platform and the nature of the work. While the former can be location-based or web-based, the latter refers to a traditional time-wage or gig wage. The case of Amazon's e-commerce platform, meaning the workforce in its warehouses, resembles a location-based traditional time-wage platform, whereas MTurk is an example of a web-based gig piece-wage platform. By investigating these platforms within their political-economic context and approaching their workers on a (digital) shopfloor level, this book argues that the nature of the platform and the nature of the work organize and alienate workers in different ways, with different repercussions for their collective organization, which make themselves felt in traditional and more alternative ways. In doing so, this book shares insights into the different ways in which platforms are structured and reproduce historical continuities in organizing workers and their labor, as well as into contemporary developments that reshape labor realities and how workers organize themselves within these.
This chapter focuses on humanizing the backbone of Amazon – the manual labor that circulates commodities sold via the platform in the warehouses. This chapter dives, therefore, into the first of the two case studies as an example of a location-based traditional time-wage platform. It examines this manual labor on the shop floor, reminiscent of factories in the industrial era yet brought into the 21st century, and analyzes the four relations of alienation: from the labor activity, from the product of labor, from species-being and from fellow humans. The organization of these warehouses reflects Taylorist techniques of scientific management that monitor and control every step of the labor process. Although workers have a set hourly wage, and are not paid piece rate, the pace of their labor is dictated by an enforced Units Per Hour (UPH) regime of productivity rates. The possibility of both social and technological surveillance, as a result of being within a single physical location, ensures a docile and (also algorithmically) disciplined workforce to keep up with the ever-increasing demand and expansions of the corporation. As Amazon reproduces many trends on the labor market from Taylorization common in production lines to the work culture similar in many platforms, it pushes these to new dimensions.
Having looked at the two contrasting Amazon platforms in terms of their platform organization, and having compared and contextualized these within the larger platform economy, this short concluding chapter takes a step back to underline the importance of researching the agency of workers generally, and the platform economy more specifically. It stresses the importance of and necessity for future and further research, both in terms of grasping labor and the labor movement in relation to gendered and racialized dynamics, material contexts and subjectivities and in terms of changing political–economic realities as a result of COVID-19 and ongoing wars that further exacerbate inequalities. Acknowledging the importance of platform cooperatives as alternatives, this book concludes by interweaving reflections to: the reader and consumers, who as members of society are exposed to the omnipresence of platforms; researchers, who support the power resources of workers; the workers, who labor and power the heart of platforms; unions, which have historically pushed for rights and are now co-evolving along intersectional lines and grassroots efforts; and finally regulators, who must hold platforms accountable given their growing political–economic, societal and technological powers.