‘He pours love and you eat it’: a psychoanalytic study of human contact and love in affective labour
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-10, 05:56 authored by Didem Derya Ozdemir KayaDidem Derya Ozdemir Kaya, Marianna Fotaki
This psychoanalytic study of affective labour focuses on its two central elements: human contact and love. It is based on a multi-sited organizational ethnography of the fine dining sector in Istanbul, Turkey, where new restaurant areas known as ‘show kitchens’ place chefs in face-to-face contact with patrons. To understand the psychosocial processes of affective production, we analyse chefs’ and patrons’ experiences of encounters in and around ‘show kitchens’. We demonstrate that affect is produced through unconscious contact mediated by socio-cultural representations, which are hegemonized by the ethos of love for one’s job. We contribute to the extant literature on affective labour by studying the desirous interplay between producers and consumers of affect. Specifically, we theorize the role of the psyche in affective production, and offer a new, psychoanalytic conceptualization of affective labour. We conclude by discussing our conceptualization’s organizational and political implications.
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