Quotation Glinsner, Barbara, Sauer, Birgit, Gaitsch, Myriam, Penz, Otto, Hofbauer, Johanna. 2018. Doing Gender in Public Services: Affective Labour of Employment Agents. Gender, Work & Organization. 25 (3), 1-17.




The restructuring of state bureaucracies into service organizations and the new welfare state paradigm of activation have changed the work requirements of front‐line workers in public employment agencies across Europe. Public employment agents are less engaged in bureaucratic labour, but have to perform service work. They use affective means to motivate and to monitor and sanction jobseekers. This article provides evidence that these transformations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland did not suspend the gendering of public service work. We discovered four typical modes of affectively enacting the state: both male and female employment agents follow feminized service work patterns or masculinized entrepreneurial norms. To prevent a possible loss of their professional status, some employment agents reinterpret affective labour as professional service work that demands high expertise. Others resist the activation paradigm by performing traditionally feminized care work or by still adhering to affect‐neutral male bureaucratic work.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Gender, Work & Organization
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-B
Language English
Title Doing Gender in Public Services: Affective Labour of Employment Agents
Volume 25
Number 3
Year 2018
Page from 1
Page to 17
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12263
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gwao.12263


Glinsner, Barbara (Former researcher)
Hofbauer, Johanna (Details)
Gaitsch, Myriam (Universität Wien, Austria)
Penz, Otto (Universität Wien, Austria)
Sauer, Birgit (Universität Wien, Austria)
Institute for Sociology and Social Research IN (Details)
Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility WE (Details)
Economics of Inequality FI (Details)
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