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Mona Elisa Behnke

Doktorandin /PhD candidate (Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka)

PhD Project on "Women’s Organizations’ Navigating Role in Java, Indonesia: An Investigation into the Socio-Cultural Aspects of Emotional Labor and Gender-based Violence”

Mona Elisa Behnke's ethnographic study elaborates on the emotional labor of social aid workers in a women’s crisis center (WCC) in Java, Indonesia. It examines how display and suppression of emotions are used to navigate clients through consultation processes in the context of a women’s crisis center, and how local gender concepts are addressed and redefined in this specific setting. By focusing on WCCs in Indonesia, the presented research contributes to the study of historically grown gender roles, and women’s participation in organizations that started to establish in the last three decades. The assistance in the centers ranges from consultation, psychological counseling, as well as mediation with the partner, to legal aid in cases of divorce (talak/perceraian), domestic violence (kekerasan dalam rumah tangga), and sexual violence (kekerasan seksual), and requires a high amount of emotion work. Thus, the study investigates how local gender roles and expectations, specifically orders of feeling and emotion repertoires, are addressed and navigated within the safe space of a WCC in order to support affected women. 

The project aims to add significant insights to the understanding of the role of emotions during the support process, the organization of emotional labor as well as strategies inside and outside the working context that positively add to the mental well-being of employees.

Berlin Southern Theory Lecture