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“It’s Just Sad”: Affect, Judgement and Emotional Labour in ‘Reality’ Television Viewing

Woods, Helen; Skeggs, Bev and Thumim, Nancy. 2008. “It’s Just Sad”: Affect, Judgement and Emotional Labour in ‘Reality’ Television Viewing. In: Stacy Gillis and Joanne Hollows, eds. Homefires: Domesticity, Feminism and Popular Culture. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781135894276 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this chapter we open up a debate about how the extension and opening out of intimacy on ‘reality’ television is contributing to refi guring the value of women’s emotional and domestic responsibilities within the neo-liberal economy. The extensive coverage of women’s domestic and emotional labour on ‘reality’ television can be seen to be a positive valorization of all the work and responsibility women perform. Yet it can also be seen as a new way by which capital extends into regions it previously considered negligible to profi t accumulation. In the 1980s, substantive debates, within the rubric of the ‘domestic labour debates’, took place about the actual value of women’s labour to the general economy: Did domestic labour have the same monetary value as paid labour? Should housework be paid for in the same way as waged work? Did women’s servicing of the family enable capitalism to survive without capitalists paying for the sustenance of the workforce? If women stopped cooking, cleaning and having children would capitalism grind to a halt?1 These debates forced women’s ‘invisible’ labour to be recognized within male social theory, and eventually, through women’s lobbying, by governments: the EU, UK, France and Scandinavian countries have all attempted to quantify domestic labour in relation to their GDP.2 And domestic labour is becoming the fastestgrowing sector of the European economy (see www.global-labour.org). The expansion of the domestic labour market exists alongside increased use of domestic and emotional labour as sources of entertainment, with ‘reality’ television companies such as Endemol and RDF, generating massive profi ts. In response to these changes, we are interested in how ‘reality’ television visualizes the contemporary conditions of women’s domestic and emotional labour and reshapes evaluations of moral worth, of what it means to be a ‘good woman’.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
27 August 2008Published

Item ID:

13719

Date Deposited:

28 Sep 2015 16:00

Last Modified:

05 Jul 2018 13:22

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/13719

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