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    Towards a new privacy: Totalitarianism, emotion and management discourse

    Hanley, C (2013) Towards a new privacy: Totalitarianism, emotion and management discourse. Management in Education, 27 (4). pp. 146-149. ISSN 0892-0206


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    This article reviews some leadership and management literature dealing with emotional demands in professional contexts. An image of the ‘real self’, requiring emotional privacy, is highly valued by individuals subjected to intense emotional demands. It is argued that the ‘real self’ and emotional privacy ought to be defended against emotional ‘totalitarianism’ at work in high performance education contexts. The writings of George Orwell are employed both to develop an understanding of totalitarianism and consider how it can be resisted. Orwell prized the ideal of the ‘real self’, and it is argued that recent management literature does not give sufficient consideration to understanding and protecting ‘private’ emotions. It is argued that management discourse, demanding increasing levels of ‘emotional labour’, might be working from an imperfect or incomplete understanding of emotional experience as it is actually lived. An analysis of an article from The Academy of Management Review exemplifies managerial preoccupation with emotional effectiveness, without considering how such effectiveness connects with other life contexts. Ideas taken from Orwell are proposed to develop and fortify an ideal of emotional privacy, making explicit links between emotions and the society in which emotions are nurtured and understood.

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