Toiling in the Field of Emotion

  • Harriet Fraad


Emotional labor is the expenditure of time, effort and energy utilizing brain and muscle to understand and fulfill emotional needs. By emotional needs, I mean the human needs for feeling wanted, appreciated, loved and cared for. Individuals’ emotional needs are often unspoken or unknown/unconscious. Emotional labor often occurs together with physical labor (producing physical goods or services), but emotional labor differs from physical labor by aiming to produce the specific feelings of being wanted, appreciated, loved and/or cared for. Of course like all powerful forces, emotional labor may be used to undermine others or frustrate their emotional needs as well as help them. I do not discuss that aspect of emotional labor in this article.


Child Abuse Physical Labor World Trade Center Emotional Labor Surplus Labor 
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© Harriet Fraad 2009

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  • Harriet Fraad

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