Panic and perjury: A psychosocial exploration of agency

Hollway, Wendy and Jefferson, Tony (2009). Panic and perjury: A psychosocial exploration of agency. In: Sclater, Shelley Day; Jones, David W.; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 123–138.




The primary aim of this article is to explore the predicament of one man, Vince, in difficult circumstances, in order to produce a psychosocial analysis that could contribute to the understanding of agency . In the process we note the role of what we prefer to call affect, rather than emotion, in most contexts. If emotions are, as Blackman and Cromby (2007: 6) suggest, 'those patterned brain/body responses that are culturally recognizable and provide some unity, stability and coherence to the felt dimensions of our relational encounters', it is perhaps unsurprising that, because we are focusing on unconscious dynamics in this chapter, the term affect proves more relevant to our analysis than the emotions of anger and shame that are, arguably, the core suppressed emotions in the account. Vince himself never talked in terms of specific emotions, but rather, in line with Blackman and Cromby's definition that 'feelings register intensive experiences as subjective experience' (ibid), of how he was experiencing his painful world. In highlighting his embodied 'sickness', and the accompanying anxiety, we focus on the affective dimension. In this usage, anxiety is an affective state.

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