Friday, April 29, 2011

First Talk Submission

This happened a few weeks ago (April 14th, to be exact), but I submitted my first abstract (and wrote my first abstract) for an individual paper presentation for the AAA (American Anthropological Association)'s annual meeting on November 16-20, 2011 in Montreal. Prof. Bialecki, whom I took ANSC 100B (Ethnography of North America) with at UCSD (University of California, San Diego, was kind enough to comment on the abstract as well.

This is the title and abstract of the submission:

Emotional Labor in Service Industry Workers: Using AutoEthnography to Narrate Workers' Subjectivities

The West has seen a shift to a service-based economy where affect labor (‘immaterial labor’) is what is being bought and sold (Hardt 1999) rather than other material products, which is characteristic of ‘late capitalism’. The hospitality industry, in particular, isn’t in the business of selling a room with a bed and other amenities; it is selling the labor power of its employees (Sherman 2007). As a result of this move toward the use of affective labor, employees have come to face a triangle of power (Lopez 2010) between the worker, customer, and manager involving control of their emotional labor. The employee is forced to negotiate and maintain their own emotional state as a requirement (and sometimes the entirety) of their work at the same time being controlled/supervised by the manager and customers simultaneously. This creates anxiety, disorganization, and confusion within the employee as she tries to navigate her work environment and plan for the future (Sennett 2000). Using autoethnography (Ellis 2004; Ellis & Bochner 2000; Chang 2008) as a method to show how subjectivities as the basis of agency (Ortner 2005) are created and constituted as workers at a three-star hotel in southern California engage the challenges of emotional work, I will narrate (rather than explain or translate), using my self as an informant in addition to my coworkers/informants within a broader social context of service work in late capitalism, how autoethnography can bring a greater connection into the human experience than traditional methods of researcher as outsider allow.
Unfortunately, the abstract would be a bit difficult to understand without having read the specific articles/books I am referring to in the abstract, which subtracts from the larger goal of this blog. However, if any of my readers want any clarifications, I will be happy to do so.

I won't know if my submission was accepted until early July. I'm really hoping they respond in the affirmative, because I've never presented and I would really like the opportunity to really contribute in an academic atmosphere and get feedback on my work. I'm planning on attending the conference regardless for networking, the sheer joy of attending these talks and panels (yes, sheer joy), and so I can participate in the board meetings and activities of NASA since I am one of two undergraduate representatives. Nonetheless, it would be nothing short of amazing if I could present along with the others.

I'll post as soon as I learn whether or not my submission was accepted and I'll link it to this post. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: My presentation was accepted! See my new post for the full information!

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