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Kathy Stuart

Doctor of Philosophy, (Sociology)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Emotional labour and occupational identity: Passionate rationality in the New Zeland parliamentary workplace

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Ms Stuart’s research explored how New Zealand parliamentarians manage emotion in the workplace, using the passage of the Civil Union Bill as a case study. Methods included observation of parliamentary debate and in-depth interviews with parliamentarians. Ms Stuart concluded that becoming a parliamentarian entails developing a new occupational identity and learning to understand emotions differently. Parliamentarians learn to manage their emotions at work through three ‘interpretative repertoires’: The Game, The Performance and The Crusade. Through these repertoires, parliamentarians come to understand their work as requiring both rationality and emotionality. This ‘passionate rationality’ enables parliamentarians to feel they are doing a good job as a parliamentarian, and to retain a sense of integrity and personal authenticity in work situations that call for complex negotiation and compromise. These results are useful for understanding other contemporary experiences of workplaces where emotion management is an important means of being understood as an authentic person.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Professor Richard Shaw

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