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A queer politics of emotion: reimagining sexualities and schooling

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This paper draws together [Hochschild's (1979) Emotion Work, Feeling Rules and Social Structure.” American Journal of Sociology 85: 551–575; (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialisation of Human Feeling. London: University of California Press] concepts of emotional labour and feeling rules with Ahmed's affective economies [(2004a) The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge; (2004b) “Affective Economies.” Social Text 22 (2): 117–139; (2008) “Sociable Happiness.” Emotion, Space and Society 1: 10–13; (2010) The Promise of Happiness. Durham: Duke University Press] and queer phenomenology [(2006a) Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. London: Duke University Press; (2006b) “Orientations: Towards a Queer Phenomenology.” GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies 12 (4): 543–574] as a way to address wider questions about sexuality and schooling. It highlights the value of the everyday politics of emotion for elucidating and clarifying the specificities, pertinence and complementarities of Hochschild's and Ahmed's work for reimagining the relationship between sexualities and schooling. The combination of their approaches allows for a focus on the individual, bodily management of emotions while demonstrating the connectedness of bodies and spaces. It enables disruption of ‘inclusive’ and ‘progressive’ educational approaches that leave heterosexuality uninterrupted and provides insight into how power works in and across the bodies, discourses, practices, relations and spaces of schools to maintain a collective orientation towards heterosexuality. It also counters linear narratives of progressive change, elucidating how change is a hopeful but messy process of simultaneous constraint, transgression and transformation. Key moments from a three-year study with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBT-Q) teachers entering into civil partnerships in Ireland serve as exploratory examples of the theoretical ideas put forward in this paper.
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Keywords: LGBT-Q teachers; emotional economies; emotional labour; feeling rules; queer phenomenology; queer temporality; schooling; sexualities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Education and Professional Studies, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland 2: Department of Sociology, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland 3: Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Publication date: February 23, 2016

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