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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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The labour of aesthetics and the aesthetics of organisation

Witz, Anne M. and Warhurst, Chris and Nickson, Dennis P. (2003) The labour of aesthetics and the aesthetics of organisation. Organization, 10 (1). pp. 33-54. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

This article develops the conceptualization and analysis of aesthetic labour in two parts. The first part focuses on conceptualizing aesthetic labour. We critically revisit the emotional labour literature, arguing that the analysis of interactive service work is impeded by the way in which its corporeal aspects are retired and that, by shifting the focus from emotional to aesthetic labour, we are able to recuperate the embodied character of service work. We then explore the insights provided by the sociological perspectives on the body contained in the works of Goffman and Bourdieu in order to conceptualize aesthetic labour as embodied labour. In the second part, we develop our analysis of aesthetic labour within the context of a discussion of the aesthetics of organization. We discern three ways in which aesthetics is recognized to imbue organization: aesthetics of organization, aesthetics in organization and aesthetics as organization. We contend that employees are increasingly seen not simply as 'software' but as 'hardware', in the sense that they too can be corporately moulded to portray the organizational aesthetic. We ground this analysis in a case study from research conducted by the authors.