Emotional labour and emotional strain among Swedish prison officers
AbstractThis article explores emotional labour strategies among Swedish prison officers, and shows how these affect their well-being. Case studies of five Swedish prisons and a national survey of prison officers are used. Analysis indicates that prison officers perform complex forms of emotional labour. Owing to differences in subcultures and informal norms, the strategies officers use in managing their displays of emotion vary between wings and roles. Different strategies may cause different kinds of emotional strain. So-called ‘surface acting’ may lead to cynicism and alienation, whereas ‘deep acting’ may lead to stress and exhaustion. Finally, the lack of opportunities for recovery is discussed.