Emotional Labour and Precarious Work: Doula Work in Toronto, Canada
Thursday, Nov. 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
The Department of Gender Studies Speakers’ Series invites you to a presentation by Christina Young, PhD Candidate, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, title “Emotional Labour and Precarious Work: Doula Work in Toronto, Canada.” Doulas are non-medical support persons to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the early postpartum period. Typically, doulas work as independent contractors who are employed and paid directly by their clients, making their income varied and unpredictable. Doulas’ precarious economic position is intensified by their liminal position within hospitals, where they have no formal standing. To provide their model of support in a hospital setting, doulas often alter their comportment to appear more agreeable and less intrusive to hospital staff. This includes managing their own feelings and opinions about clinical care decisions and concealing feelings of fear, anger, or discomfort in order to help set clients at ease. This type of emotional management has been described by Arlie Hochschild as emotional labour – the observable management of one’s feelings necessary to accomplish paid work. Drawing on interviews with doulas working in the Toronto area, this presentation explores the relationship between emotional labour and doulas’ everyday working conditions.
Presented by Department of Gender Studies Speakers' Series