The Sociology of Emotions: Basic Theoretical Arguments

Emotion Review 1 (4):240-254 (2009)
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Abstract

In this article, the basic sociological approaches to theorizing human emotions are reviewed. In broad strokes, theorizing can be grouped into several schools of thought: evolutionary, symbolic interactionist, symbolic interactionist with psychoanalytic elements, interaction ritual, power and status, stratification, and exchange. All of these approaches to theorizing emotions have generated useful insights into the dynamics of emotions. There remain, however, unresolved issues in sociological approaches to emotions, including: the nature of emotions, the degree to which emotions are hard-wired neurological or socially constructed, the relevance of analyzing the biology and evolution of emotions, the relationship between cognition and emotions, the number of distinctive emotional states produced by humans, and the relationship between emotions and rationality.

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