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dc.contributor.advisorDonovan, Brian
dc.contributor.authorGassmann, Jaime Nicole Noble
dc.date.accessioned2011-04-26T02:50:38Z
dc.date.available2011-04-26T02:50:38Z
dc.date.issued2010-08-30
dc.date.submitted2010
dc.identifier.otherhttp://dissertations.umi.com/ku:11150
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1808/7420
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the emotional labor of Army wives as they volunteer in Army-mandated family-member support groups in each unit called Family Readiness Groups (FRGs). Since its inception, the Army has relied unofficially on soldiers' wives' contributions to the success of their husbands' careers in a two-for-one career pattern--two workers for one paycheck. The Army made such expectations official when in 1988 it began to require volunteer labor to run each unit's FRG. The Army tasks FRGs with connecting members to resources and relaying official information to soldiers' family members. These support groups also serve a vital socializing function, though not all soldiers' spouses participate in the information-dispensing and community-building groups. I conducted thirty-seven in-depth interviews and nine months of participant observation fieldwork among Army wives on and around a large Army post from 2006-2007, during a time when most soldiers were deploying to fight a war in either Iraq or Afghanistan every other year, leaving behind family members to manage the domestic effects of the Global War on Terrorism. This dissertation analyzes the participant-observation and interview data to show how and why the Army's emissaries, in particular FRG leaders, use emotional labor to impose traditional, institutional, "old Army" behaviors including satisfying expectations to work on behalf of one's soldier-spouse with a an Army-supporting attitude. Army wives who normally do the work of managing and displaying prescribed emotions in the private sphere for their own families do that same emotional labor publicly on the homefront when they volunteer to lead FRGs in the tradition of "good" Army-wife behavior. Army wives who lead FRGs often volunteer their labor to satisfy unofficial yet prevailing expectations that they serve, particularly if they are commanders' wives, to contribute to the success of their husbands' careers, to build a social network for themselves and their peers, and to gain a modicum of power (real or perceived) over the process of adjusting their lives to an Army fighting two wars. FRG leaders' emotional labor also includes managing their members' (often unhappy) feelings about the flow of scarce but valuable information about Army life, diffusing or solving family-member problems before they burden soldiers, and patrolling behavior of other Army wives through mentorship and gossip in service of the Army's goals. The Army's usage of volunteers' emotional labor grants the Army increased control over soldiers' families. Even though the Army requires emotional labor in FRGs to help improve family members' attitudes about Army life and thus keep soldiers in the Army, volunteer spouses' efforts are still devalued--both unpaid and derided--as women's work. The dissertation also finds that though the Army provides FRGs ostensibly to support family members, the emotional labor it prescribes for FRG leaders in handbooks and regulations, when combined with informal expectations, sometimes values supporting the Army over family members.
dc.format.extent317 pages
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectAmerican studies
dc.subjectSociology
dc.subjectMilitary studies
dc.subjectCultural sociology
dc.subjectInstitutions
dc.subjectMilitary sociology
dc.subjectVolunteer labor
dc.subjectWomen's studies
dc.titlePatrolling the homefront: The emotional labor of Army wives volunteering in Family Readiness Groups
dc.typeDissertation
dc.contributor.cmtememberYetman, Norman R.
dc.contributor.cmtememberAntonio, Robert J.
dc.contributor.cmtememberNagel, Joane
dc.contributor.cmtememberChappell, Ben
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplineAmerican Studies
dc.thesis.degreeLevelPh.D.
kusw.oastatusna
kusw.oapolicyThis item does not meet KU Open Access policy criteria.
dc.rights.accessrightsopenAccess


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