SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Mon 16.30pm

When was the last time you felt something ambiguous? A feeling that you couldn’t name? Was it perhaps a mixture of two, three, or many other more familiar emotions? Are there basic emotions that everyone feels and understands? The evidence seems to suggest that there are at least four to six universal basic emotions, based on Paul Ekman’s analysis of facial expressions across cultures. These have a genetic basis, and are experienced by all humans. The great majority of emotions seem to be more complex amalgams of these basic emotions. Indeed, in 1980, the psychologist Robert Plutchik developed a fascinating ‘colour wheel’ of emotions to depict the various possible combinations and intensities of basic emotions and their resulting ‘complex emotions’.

However, many of the psychological studies into basic and complex emotions do not account for the inherently social way in which emotions are combined and experienced. Norbet Elias’ Civilizing Process, and Michel Foucault’s studies of discipline and punishment (compounded in the construction of Jermeny Bentham’s famous Panopticon as a vehicle for moral reform) are historical examples of how society engenders complex, socially constituted emotions such as shame and guilt to maintain social order and police the boundaries of class and status. Think about how the modern institutions of society – work, family, church, government, market, media, social networks – shape and assemble your emotions in ever more complex forms.

Reflect on your feelings right now. Are they basic or complex? Individual or social?

#S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

7 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Mon 16.30pm

Lauren Hilton said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Kemper argued that universally there are four main emotions which all individuals have, as it “is rooted in our evolutionary nature” (Patulny 2018). Similar to Burkit, which described secondary emotions as socially derived from the four basic emotions (Patulny 2018). Burkit (2000) stated some of the more complex emotions emerge out of social mixtures of simpler emotions, in which the basic emotions and their old labels are open to more than one interpretation and new conceptions. Modern society and our fast paced lifestyles is an example of a more complex social setting where deeper complex emotions can develop, especially with the high presence of social media usage (Burkit 2000). As we grow up we are taught the basic emotions, I learnt this whilst in primary school during class activities. Where we would often be asked by teachers to use laminated facial expressions and pin it to a particular scenario or in some cases how we were feeling on that day. It’s a complex structure when emotions and feelings are completely individual, but as Burkit (2000) describes, recognised through labels and words creating universal ‘emotional vocabularies’. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630

Stella Crick said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Ekman proposes there are six basic emotions universal to all peoples (Cherry, 2017). Though it’s been recognised that we experience complex emotions formed from basic emotions amalgamated in different intensities in response to relational contexts (Burkitt, 2000, p151), Plutchik portrays this through his ‘colour wheel’ of emotions (Patulny, 2018). Complex emotions are essentially socially constructed to compose and maintain social order (Wouters, 2004, p194). Modern institutions like my government workplace mould my emotions, a restructure just occurred and I secured my position but felt almost bittersweet. I can now comprehend the complex emotion I felt, I was experiencing joy and guilt simultaneously. Joyous to be still employed, but also guilty that I got the position over older and skilled people whom I’ve formed friendships with. This example proves how emotions are socially constructed, and at times a blend of more than one emotion may be experienced. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630 References: Burkitt, I 2000, Complex emotions: relations, feelings and images in emotional experience, in J Barbalet (ed.), Emotions and Sociology, Blackwell Publishing/The Sociological Review, p151. Cherry, K 2017, How Many Human Emotions Are There? Identifying Core Emotions Versus Those Influenced by Culture, Verrywell Mind, accessed 18/03/2018, Patulny, R 2018, Lecture 3: Civilised bodies, complex emotions, SOC344 Emotions, Bodies & Society, University of Wollongong, delivered 12/03/2018. Wouters, C 2004, Changing regimes of manners and emotions: from disciplining to informalizing, Sociology of Norbet Elias, Cambridge University Press, p194.

Bethany Self said : Guest Report 11 months ago

A feeling that I have become familiar with over the past month is being home sick. I am from America and it’s hard being away from friends and family. But being home sick isn’t as straight forward as it may seem. It is a mix of being sad from missing my friends, but also feeling excited and grateful to be here at the same time. This mix of feelings doesn’t relate to one of Ekman’s basic emotions at all… and this inner feeling doesn’t correlate with a particular facial expression. However, on Patulny’s color wheel I can only relate this to longing mixed with optimism. Elias’ Manner Book shows for this time that shame began construction “fear of social superiors and fear of transgression of social prohibitions took on the character of inner fear, shame” (Wouters 2004, p. 200). This further promotes the idea of the construction of shame and guilt to maintain social order, or discipline and punishment. This can still be seen today in disciplining principles in schools: if a child misbehaves their name is written on the board for the whole class to see for the rest of the day, which creates the emotion of shame and embarrassment that the child will then not want to feel again.

Samantha Waters said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Mixed emotions are a construct of human rationalisations concerning our basic emotions and how we interpret them, (if we choose to accept the notion of the colour wheel put forward by Robert Plutchik). This theory is constructed through the human rationalisation of the processing of emotions. Our rationalities are constructed through our social engagements, and that of our historic social constructs. The suppression of emotions seems to be relevant from the victorian era in which the public displays of emotions were few and far between. These displays were seen as indecent. Burkitt (2002, pg 153) discusses this by relevance of feelings linked to emotion. Emotions and feelings are not identical, even though are closely interrelated. The mixing of emotions can thus be linked to mass control over populations through the feelings of things like guilt and shame (think of the evolution of social constructs such as public nudity/acts of indecency). As children we often experience complex emotions because of the actions we take and the consequences they yield. We grow knowing few mixed emotions until we see them in the real world. When we learn what the feeling is supposed to look like and feel like, we register that information into our ‘bank of emotions’, so that in when we feel these emotions, we have a label for them to be used in society. Feelings of guilt for myself have been recently tested as a number of large assignments draw nearer, I’ll continue to leave them fairly late. I feel fearful for the consequences of my laziness, but mixed with joy for that I did something I wanted to do instead of the work. It is fascinating how two emotions can combine to cause feeling like guilt. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630

Sophie Washington said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Words in ‘emotional vocabulary’ are neutral in terms of the feeling aspect of emotion – a word such a joy, referring to happiness can be used to mean the opposite (Bakhtin 1986, cited in Burkitt 2002, p. 156). Although we have this universal discourse for organising our feelings under labels, feeling is such a distinctively individual experience. No one can fully grasp someone else’s experience of what is labelled sadness, because of the complex relationships, circumstance, past understandings that generate that feeling within the individual (Burkitt, 2002). The social aspect of feeling is how the individual understands and expresses emotions, as Wouters (2004) explains. A child is taught the names for emotion they feel and they learn the acceptable ways of expressing such emotions based upon someone else’s understanding. Subsequently two individuals will grow up with alternate understandings of feelings and emotions. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630 Burkitt, I (2002) Complex Emotions: Relations, Feelings, and Images in Emotional Experience, in J. Barbalet (ed.), Emotions and Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 151-167 Wouters, C. (2004) ‘Changing Regimes of Manners and Emotions: from Disciplining to Informalizing’, in S. Loyal and S. Quilley (eds), The Sociology of Norbert Elias, pp. 193- 211. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Amit Anand said : Guest Report 11 months ago

In modern society complex emotions give meaning to relational experience and are experienced primarily as structures of feeling between thought and attempt to trace the complex process through which feelings become emotions. Therefore, emotions and feelings are complex in nature and are not always identical and emotional dynamics play a more important role in power of relations to other bodies. The complexity of emotions has a larger point as Ian Burkitt claims that emotions are composed of both matter and meaning within a cultural twist and because of this body , mind, emotion are seen as interrelated. Notably, psychologists studying emotions suggest the presence of neural-chemical element of feeling known as serotonin found in aggressive people is actually the cause of the emotion and not the part of the bodily response to relations. This is due to discursive psychology’s attempt to study the words different cultures have developed for emotional states known as ‘emotional vocabularies’ that give a cultural context to different emotions and feelings. Therefore, reflecting on my personal feelings and emotions right now would be more complex and culturally driven. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630

Kareem Choubassi said : Guest Report 11 months ago

It's almost impossible to imagine in contemporary society an emotional state that isn't affected directly by social structures and expectations, especially with the outreach and development that social media has on an individual's life. Reflecting on my personal emotional state, they're largely complex and socially-impacted due to the constant mixture of fleeting emotions. This is due to to the constant social inter-connectivity as well as general demands of life. Thus, complex emotional states seem to be more apparent than anything else due to modern day's constant social requirements. #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Mon1630

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