This paper reviews the empirical literature on identity work and identifies two distinct approaches to incorporating emotion. The majority of empirical studies use emotion to describe the experiences of identity work. In doing so, the authors (a) mention the emotions that people feel in situations that trigger identity work, (b) illustrate identity work as an emotional endeavour, and (c) describe the emotional impact of successful and unsuccessful identity work. There is also an emerging literature that examines the mutual constitution of emotions and identity work. These authors address emotional labour, affective social identification, emotional attachment and detachment, and humour when studying identity work. This paper suggests that, to understand better the relation between emotions and identity work, future research should examine the role of emotions in problematizing identity, the emotional constitution of the identity work experience, the intersection of emotions and other ways of knowing the self, and the links between emotions and power in identity work.