Emotional labor dynamics as precursors to mundane violence in a Philippine city jail


  • Hannah Glimpse Nario-Lopez




This paper analyzes narratives on emotional labor among officers working in an overpopulated and undermanned city jail in the Philippines. Taking off from Hochschild (1983) and Crawley (2004) as theoretical departure points and using Sikolohiyang Pilipino as an approach in deploying institutional ethnography, I forward three arguments that enrich the understanding of emotion management dynamics in the carceral setting. First, emotional labor in the city jail is largely based on rank. Rank is a fixed navigation point where officers need to be in their “rightful place” (lugar) in interacting with and expressing emotions to others. Second, leadership regimes in forms of sistema (substandard yet acceptable ways of doing things) or kalakaran (corrupted sistema) also dictate emotion regimes among officers in the facility. And third, narratives of professionalism dominate accounts that normalize, reify, moralize, and even prize emotional laboring. In contrast to existing literature, data suggest that emotion management can be endowing, as it clarifies expectations and harmonizes relationships. Officers, in addition, claim that they are willing to endure emotional labor as it helps them to be more dutiful as a public servant. In fact, officers value emotional labor with a nationalist tone. With strong appreciation for emotional management in the narratives, I end with critical reflections and forwarded interrogations on the danger of moralizing emotional labor and recommend further investigation of its aspects that could lead to mundane violence.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Hannah Glimpse Nario-Lopez

Hannah Glimpse Nario-Lopez earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of the Philippines Diliman, where she is now teaching Philippine Contemporary Social Issues and Sociology of Deviant Behavior. She served as Youth Advisor at the Southeast Wyoming Juvenile Detention Center. Since her research on emotional labor among jail officers, has been providing skills training and consultancy services in two jail facilities in Metro Manila and advocating for a more equitable criminal justice system in the Philippines. You may reach her at: hcnario@up.edu.ph.




Como Citar

Nario-Lopez, H. G. (2021). Emotional labor dynamics as precursors to mundane violence in a Philippine city jail. MovimentAção, 8(14), 65–93. https://doi.org/10.30612/mvt.v8i14.15019



Dossiê: As fronteiras do trabalho em tempos de crise