You Make Me Feel Like A Woman: Therapeutic Cultures and the Contagion of Femininity

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Journal Article
Gender, Work and Organization, 2008, 15 (1), pp. 88 - 107
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This article explores the relations between processes of emotionalization in society, therapeutic cultures in the workplace and new forms of emotional subjectivity and self-presentation. For many commentators, this subjectivity is culturally feminized, drawing as it does on first-person narratives, confessionals, emotional performances and `the personal and it is also highly problematic. In particular, the article speculates on the emergence of a somewhat hostile reaction by some prominent critics to these emotional selves, to whom they appear to represent a form of emasculation. Exploring a range of `archives in different discourse registers, the article suggests that these dismissive responses could be seen to signify growing cultural anxieties about the imagined feminization of the self and the workplace. The article concludes by proposing that while therapeutic cultures are politically ambivalent, the significance of the resources and solace that they offer should not be ignored or trivialized.
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