This research explores the emotional labour of university students whilst volunteering on the Sport Universities North East England (SUNEE) sports-based outreach project. Using data from semi-structured interviews with students (n = 40) this paper draws on the work of Arlie Hochschild (1983, 2012) to explore the feeling, display and regulation of emotion by this cohort of volunteers throughout their involvement on the SUNEE project. The findings suggest that students’ emotional labour is influenced by a variety of challenging attitudes and situations that they encounter when attempting to coach “hard to reach” groups. To perform such emotional labour, students often chose to transmute emotion, separating their actual emotions from their outward display to convey a demeanour necessitated by the perceived feeling rules of the coaching context.
The author is with the School of Sport Studies, Leisure and Nutrition, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.