Sex, Work and Professionalism examines what happens when professional concern is defined in terms of sex. Based on original fieldwork with outreach workers in HIV prevention it addresses issues of professionalism, emotion work and boundaries, integrating empirical insights with sociological theory.
In most professional relationships sex is not defined as part of the relationship, in fact it is explicitly excluded in guidelines and codes of ethics. HIV prevention outreach workers work in sexual environments with a sexually defined target group and are often employed on the basis of their sexuality. They have to learn how to balance their work and professional lives, overcoming conflicts such as:
* professional role V community role
* sexual skills V sexual boundaries
* personal experiences V professional understanding
* professional identity V worldviews.
Many of the questions being raised in this book about the meaning of professionalism, the pain and pleasure in emotion work and the management of boundaries between home, sex and work are being asked more generally by workers in a range of organisations. Sex, Work and Professionalism argues for a new understanding of professionalism more appropriate to the human services.