Dying Professions: Exploring Emotion Management Among Doctors and Funeral Directors
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There are few more emotive experiences in life than death. Drawing on Arlie Hochschild’s concept of emotional labour, this study compares the emotional responsibilities of two groups of death professionals: doctors and funeral directors. This study addresses the lack of comparative studies in the otherwise robust literature concerning emotional labour in the workforce. Through qualitative analysis, I identify how funeral directors and doctors believe they should feel in regards to death, how they manage these feelings, and the related consequences of this emotional labour. Due to their unique position of encountering death as part of a job, death professionals have much to teach each other, as well as the broader population, about accepting and managing emotions related to mortality.