SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Bega

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 #Bega

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

3 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Bega

Moira Malseed said : Guest Report 9 months ago

@rpatulny#Soc344UOW#TUT#BegaWEDS1530 Living in todays society is largely influenced by social networks, government bodies, guidelines within school, work or university and interactions through tweet’s, blogs, snapchat and Facebook. Making sense of our emotions is hard enough but today it has become more complicated. Feelings have ‘relational context’ as (Burkitt 2002, p.160) explains and that feelings and emotions play out in our relationships, which is expressed verbally but can take on underlying feelings. For example, today I experienced many feelings all at once and I started to feel anxious and overwhelmed, which Burkitt puts this down to, when feelings clash it creates a sense of ambiguity which is hard to verbalise. The main emotion was fear, and that made me panic and feel confused, upset and indecisive. The pressures today I find leaves me with many mixed emotions every day, trying to be an attentive mother, assertive student, loving wife, understanding and diligent worker this makes for complicated emotions. Over complicating our lives with many pressures can leave us confused to what is real emotion, Burkitt talks about being in the present moment that it is more fluid and changing, as when a person acts on a feeling they are aware of what they are doing, which is an important moment in the social process. (Burkitt 2002, p.154) With the changes in technology and the dependence on devices and social media we are spending more time alone with our emotions or venting them on social media. Social relationships are changing with that there is a mixture of more complex emotions involved in daily activities.

Carly McDonald said : Guest Report 9 months ago

The idea that emotions can be broken down, dissected into easily digestible one-word labels, appears too simplistic for me to grasp. Perhaps this is an important first step to explaining a complex world of emotions, but often these labels do not give the feelings within me justice and limit my understanding of self. Burkitt (2002) views feelings as the form that has not yet received ‘social articulation’. Therefore, emotion is the articulation of that feeling and the form of that language is dependent on the individual’s social environment (Burkitt 2002). Travelling and my attempts to learn different languages made me realise how simplistic our English language can be, when compared to other cultures. In Spain there are many different words to articulate the feeling of love and the locals use a wide variety of tones and body language to express different feelings to one another. I agree with Carina that University, has an inherent power structure, constantly lighting our competitive fire, demanding us to achieve. Hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and examination are all mechanisms at play within this institution (Foucalt 1975, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of Prison). Sometimes I wonder whether my language has become more sophisticated, or whether I am simply becoming a product of an academic institution. Am I becoming so overloaded with new terminology, that I am unable to form an original thought? Or am I expanding my vocabulary to better articulate my emotions and thus moulding a truer form of self?

Carina Severs said : Guest Report 9 months ago

@rpatulny #S344UOW18 #Tut3 #Bega Sculptured Emotions Delving into the unknown, trying to interpret assessment expectations and absorbing the meaning behind readings, I must admit, leaves me feeling anxious and confused. The social expectation to achieve and conform combined with the possibility of failure and public humiliation are intense. Using Parrott’s (2001) tree structure of emotional groups these feelings of anxiousness are a complex mix of tertiary emotions, evolving from the primary emotion of “fear” and the secondary emotion of “nervousness”. It is listed, alongside other such tertiary emotions, as suspense, uneasiness, apprehension, distress and dread; all of which, at this moment, I can equate to. According to Von Scheve and Von Luede (2003), fear has its origins in the “stable fabrics of society rather than solely in the individual self....”. Therefore the society in which I live, the social institutions, cultures and social norms have all contributed, to a degree, and in some way, to influence my emotions and responses. They contribute to my sense of logic, to decide on the most appropriate course of action. In other words the “effective sculpturing and moulding of the brain and the nervous system” (Von Scheve, C & Von Luede, R 2005) to produce instinctive emotions and, as Norbert Elias (Von Scheve, C & Von Luede, R 2005 proposes, to “create a civilised body”. I agree with Alex who touched on this subject in his Blog for Tut 2 saying “background emotions are always at play and are often unrecognised by the individual...”, however, I also feel they furnish towards an extremely complex mix of factors assisting in our survival, in one context or another.

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