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The Emotional Labor of the Professional Dominatrix

Case
By: Tania G. Levey Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

Through research on the emotional labor of the professional dominatrix, this case study highlights the importance of an inductive approach for exploring new topics and uncovering the complexities of lived experiences. This case study also demonstrates the value of using mixed qualitative methods, including conducting in-depth interviews and analyzing the content of written memoirs and blogs. Each source of data contains accompanying strengths and weaknesses. Finally, researching sensitive topics and stigmatized populations raises important issues for recruitment of participants and the protection of participants’ identities. Data from all sources revealed that the emotional labor of the dominatrix differs from other sex workers, such as prostitutes and exotic dancers. The dominatrix is asked, at times, to express emotional displays, such as indifference or displeasure, during sessions with clients. At the same time, however, data revealed compassionate and care-taking traits. In contrast to research that poses binary models of gender and emotional labor, we find a more fluid paradigm that resists simplistic connections among gender, emotions, and work.

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Methods Map

Qualitative interviewing