The teaching profession offers meaningful, stimulating work that accords with teachers’ sense of professional pride and identity, but is also synonymous with high levels of stress, conflict (and associated emotions such as anger and shame) and ultimately, attrition. The degree to which teachers within a national population ‘up-manage’ the former or ‘down-manage’ the latter emotions is unknown. This study utilises new data from the Australian Survey of Emotions and Emotion Management (SEEM) to examine emotions and emotion management among teachers, and workers in comparable service roles, such as health care and customer service, in contemporary Australian society. It finds that teachers exhibit great natural happiness, but also experience and hide (through surface-acting) high levels of stress. Teachers also experience high levels of anger compared to other professions, though they usually manage this successfully through deep acting strategies. These findings imply that teachers are generally happy and professionally committed to (and proud of) their work, but at the cost of managing significant levels of stress and conflict. We discuss the implications for teacher professional development, initial teacher education and policy, and the need to investigate anger/shame dynamics and management in future research into pedagogy.
In many Australian communities, outdoor municipal pools are much loved yet constantly threatened with closure. Threats of closure inspire impassioned responses and it is clear that these seasonal pools offer much more than physical infrastructure. At first glance, the concept of ‘emotional geography’ seems to capture this ‘more’, and this essay, based on research at one such pool, demonstrates how pools afford sociality, embodied experiences and practices of emplacement that emotionally connect people to each other, to nature and to an imagined historical community. However, participants’ narratives also revealed affective intensities, and multisensory evocations of place and self synchronically encountered, that the concept of ‘emotional geography’ cannot capture. To understand the cultural meaning and personal significance of seasonal pools in Australia, we have to feel our way through the placial folding of affective intensities and emotional lives.
Current research on emotions represents a broad church of methodological approaches. The essays in this special issue will investigate how social emotions inform research across numerous disciplinary fields and methodological approaches. This introduction will set out the social dimensions of emotions like shame, anger, anxiety, empathy and pity from a specifically sociological perspective. In sum, this will work to counter tendencies that individualise emotions as purely subjective or cognitive phenomena, and to demonstrate how the significance of social emotions is not restricted to any singular discipline.