The Public Life of Emotions

Squire, Corinne (2001) ‘The Public Life of Emotions’, International Journal of Critical Psychology, pp. 27-38.

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Emotionalism, the centring of social and political as well as personal judgements on individual feeling, seems to many to be an increasingly prevalent frame for thought and action. A variety of historical and cultural explanations are advanced to account for this situation, ranging from the conceptual contradictions of Enlightenment thinking through the power of popular media to the aftereffects of postmodernism. For some, emotionalism signifies cultural degeneration, depoliticisation and emotional impoverishment, while others view the change as psychologically and socially empowering and potentially democratising. This paper urges a limited acceptance of emotionalism as a historical shift, and a qualified optimism about it. The paper argues that emotionalism can act at times as a kind of pragmatic strategy for theorising areas of cultures that are otherwise ignored or repressed, while at other times emotionalism simply points to insufficiencies within mainstream cultural discourses. The paper also suggests that critical psychology is a particularly apt field in which to consider the reconfigurations of emotion being achieved by its increasingly public performance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Squire, C. (2001) ‘The public life of emotions’, International Journal of Critical Psychology, 1 27-38..
Divisions: Schools > Law and Social Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Corinne Squire
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2009 21:22
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2012 12:00

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