Ocularcentric labour : ‘you don’t do this for money’

Sappey, Jennifer & Maconachie, Glenda J. (2012) Ocularcentric labour : ‘you don’t do this for money’. Relations Industrielles, 67(3), pp. 498-519.


Building on the tradition of emotional labour and aesthetic labour, this study of fitness workers introduces the concept of “ocularcentric labour” (the worker seeking the adoring gaze of the client as the primary reward). It is a state in which labour’s quest for the psycho-social rewards gained from their own body image shapes the employment relationship (both the organization of work and the conditions of employment). We argue that for many fitness workers the goal is to gain access to the positional economy of the fitness centre to promote their celebrity. For this they are willing to trade-off standard conditions of employment, and exchange traditional employment rewards for the more intrinsic psycho-social rewards gained through the exposure of their physical capital to the adoration of their gazing clients. Significantly, with ocularcentric labour the worker becomes both the site of production and consumption.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 53766
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Ocularcentric Labour, Labour Process, Fitness Worker, Service Work
ISSN: 0034-379X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Universite Laval. Department of Industrial Relations
Deposited On: 23 Sep 2012 23:23
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:11

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