Introducing Psychosocial Studies of Emotion

Day Sclater, Shelley; Yates, Candida; Price, Heather and Jones, David W. (2009). Introducing Psychosocial Studies of Emotion. In: Day Sclater, Shelley; Jones, David W.; Price, Heather and Yates, Candida eds. Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives. Houndmills: Palgrave, pp. 1–16.




This chapter provides an introduction to the papers that make up this book. The psychosocial contributors represented here all share an interest in affect, the emotions and emotional life. Some recent writers (e.g. Blackman and Cromby, 2007) make clear distinctions between "emotion" and "affect", with, for example, "emotion" being used to refer to conscious experience, and "affect" to a more basic drive - or bodily based phenomenon. We agree with Greco and Stenner's (2008) suggestion that such distinctions are not always fruitful partly because the terms are used highly inconsistently. Emotions exist partly in the body, but they are also in our minds, in our language and in the cultures that surround us. They can be understood as a crucial bridge between the individual and the social, and are quintessentially psychosocial phenomena. They have a mercurial status, not existing without an individual to experience the emotion, but often having little significance without a socio-cultural framework that imbues feelings with meaning.

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