“The camgirl’s self-presentation as a brand in an attention economy is particularly interesting in light of what sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls ‘emotional labor.’ In her 1984 book The Managed Heart, Hochschild studied flight attendants, bill collectors and other workers with jobs that required them to induce particular emotional states in others.31 She theorized that for emotional laborers, work functions dramaturgically, with the worker as actor, the customers as audience, and the work environment as a stage.

To manage their emotional states, employees engage in two types of acting. “Surface acting” is the equivalent of faking a smile or acting as a character without personally identifying with the role one is playing. In “deep acting”, the employee works to identify with the feelings she needs to project to keep the customer satisfied. Whether she engages in the acting consciously or unconsciously, and whether she enjoys herself or not, this acting requires effort, which Hochschild qualifies as labor, arguing, ‘When deep gestures of exchange enter the market sector and are bought and sold as an aspect of labor power, feelings are commoditized.”

Therese Senft in _Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks_, defining emotional labor in terms of camgirls

“Emotional labor” is perhaps the most useful theory term I’ve ever come across, and it’s one that comes up more and more often these days. Also, for some reason I thought Hochschild was a man.

(via marginalutilite)