16 Pages



Late modernity has become conspicuously engaged with identity, reflexivity and emotions (Brooks 2008a; Brooks and Wee 2008; McNay 2008). This ‘turn to affect’ and emotions (Greco and Stenner 2008) in contemporary social theorizing and its increasing importance in broadening understanding in the social sciences is a response to a broader societal need. It is claimed that the model of ‘an affective society’ (Watson 1999) is now the predominant model. In fact, Greco and Stenner (2008:5) note that when emotion was directly addressed by the early social scientists ‘it was typically associated with the primitive, the embodied female’. This book draws on conceptual frameworks around emotion to conceptualize a broader understanding of social processes involved in ‘emotion work’ and ‘emotional labour’ in the West and in Asia. The first part of this Introduction provides a theoretical framework for understanding emotional labour within the context of the West and Asia. The second part of the Introduction by Theresa Devasahayam provides an analysis of the social and cultural context of gender in Asia.