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Title: Knowing how to 'play the game' at work : a study of class, gender and emotion work in Higher Education
Author: Addison, Michelle Tracy
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 1473
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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This research is about the social games that people play at work. The focus here is on how employees come to know the game and develop a feel for the game (Bourdieu, 1990: 67) in a Higher Education setting. Central to this study is how employees acquire knowledge of what kind of person (Cockburn, 1991; Adkins, 1995) has value at work and how this knowledge becomes useful in game playing. Playing games at work involves fitting in with the ‘right ways of being and doing’ (Bourdieu, 1986: 511; Bourdieu, 1990) in certain fields. Of interest here is how people learn to fit in and play the game at work through knowledge of culturally and socially valued and valueless classed and gendered identities. The workplace is an important site in which worker identities are constructed, affirmed and eroded. People are increasingly expected to draw on personal resources, including embodied capitals and emotion work (Hochschild, 1983), as ‘marketable assets’ (Belt and Richardson, 2005: 258) as organisations search for greater productivity, higher profits and better value in competitive times. This thesis draws on qualitative data from 31 semi-structured interviews with employees working in an old, traditional Higher Education Institution in the north of England. This study looks at how emotion work (Hochschild, 1983) is used by some employees to conceal times when they think they do not fit in for reasons to do with class and gender. The aim of this research is to show that knowledge of class and gender are an important aspect of how employees learn to play games at work. It is argued here that possessing this knowledge helps employees to develop a feel for the game at work and fit in.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available