SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Mossvale

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 #Mvale

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

2 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut3 – Mossvale

Bronwyn Sims said : Guest Report 9 months ago

Excellent blog Annalise

Annalise Stevenson said : Guest Report 11 months ago

It could be argued that all feelings are ambiguous. A reflective process is required when a strong internal feeling arises. When we reflect on how we are feeling, we label the feeling as an emotion through a social development. There is a constant struggle between feelings, emotions and social interactions. A feeling is developed from a social context, it may cause physical reactions and we classify that feeling on knowledge of the characteristics of cultural understandings of emotions. As Ian Burkitt suggests, “this means that feeling is reconstructed as it is articulated consciously through words as an emotion” (2000, p.155). Thus, as we are submerged into our world as a social subject, we expand our awareness of increasingly complex emotions to rationalise actions for situations that are saturated in multiple and contrasting subjective perspectives. The rationalisation and action of emotions is dependent on the current constructs of society. Cas Wouters theorises that approaches to discipline have changed the way manners are structured, managed and developed, “the respect and self-respect of all citizens have become less directly dependent upon external social controls and more directly upon their reflexive and calculating abilities” (2004, p.210).

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