Paolo Gusmeroli

Wine heiresses. Gender, emotion management and erotic capital

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Gender; Emotion Work; Erotic Capital; Entrepreneurship; Distinction.

This paper focuses on women distinction (Bourdieu 1979) in a men's productive field (wine), interpreting the literature on emotional labor (Hoch schild 1983) through the concept of erotic capital (Hakim 2010). In particular, we consider the experience of wine family businesses' heirs: young women employed in typical «feminine» tasks (e.g. public relations, marketing and hospitality). Social, aesthetic and communication skills, linked to emotional labor and sexual charisma, are performed in a market where those capabili- ties are expected, and represented, as «natural» women's (and class) resources. Adopting an intersectional approach, we interpret the various meanings attached to women's emotional labor: as related to male domination (Bourdieu 1998), as well as involved in strategies and constructions of «desired» identities. In those cases, the subjectifications of the «feminine» and the commodification of emotion (Hochschild 2012) are intertwined with the (mis)recognition of women as entrepreneurs of the family. We claim that emotional labor, seen both in its exploitative aspects (Hochschild 2006) or as an «erotic» resource (Hakim 2010), embodies forms of symbolic violence (Bourdieu 1998) involved in the joined reproduction of gender and class distinction.

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