Author ORCID Identifier 0000-0002-3694-8624

Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Nursing, Sociology, Women's and gender studies, Social work.

Publication Details

Hanlon, N. Professional Caring in Affective Services; the ambivalence of emotional nurture in practice. European Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1080/13691457.2021.1997925


Emotional nurturance is a fundamental feature of all forms of professional caring. As well as delivering expert social, health, education, practical or personal services, good caregivers possess an other-centred disposition, are emotionally intelligent and relationally skilled, and morally caring. Despite this, the value, role, and status of emotional nurturance in professional care is ambivalent. Drawing on feminist care theory, Hochchild’s emotional labour theory, and Bourdieusian social reproduction theory, as well as diverse empirical studies, this paper identifies how emotion is marginalised and misrecognised and calls for the reappraisal of emotion in professional care work in ways that appreciate tensions, contradictions, and dilemmas in practice.