Emotion and Social Structures: The Affective Foundations of Social Order

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/18/2013
  • Publisher: Routledge
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The book offers a novel theoretical account of emotion and social order. It argues that affect and emotion #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; in addition to well established concepts like norms and rationality #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; are key to understanding the linkages between social action and social structure. In developing its core sociological argument, the book integrates theoretical models and empirical evidence from a wide range of disciplines, in particular psychology, cognitive science, and social and affective neuroscience. This argument is developed in three consecutive steps: First, the book gives a detailed account of how social structure impacts the elicitation of emotions. It delivers an empirically grounded, comprehensive, and unprecedented account of how the plasticity of affective processing serves to calibrate emotions to their social environments. Second, the work shows how socially structured emotions impact social action, primarily via their interactions with social cognition, and generate robust and habitual patterns of behavior. Third, it is argued that the social interactive functions of emotion, such as facial expression and contagion, serve to control and disseminate structured patterns of emotional experience and thus promote social order and cohesion. Moreover, emotion norms constitute an explicit and discursive layer of social control ensuring compliance with structurally prevalent emotional reactions.

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