Sociology of Emotions

SOCIOL XL 128

This course examines the new field of the sociology of emotions from a constructionist and interactionist perspective. Instruction addresses such issues as definition and the social and cultural construction of emotion.

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What you can learn.

  • Address the embodied sensation of emotional experience, including the difference between feeling an emotion and expressing an emotion
  • Understand the socio-historical contextualization of emotion
  • Examine the social nature, experience, and enforcement of emotional norms, including emotional management and feeling rules
  • Investigate the commercialization and selling of emotional labor
  • Learn about the emotions in interpersonal relationships, with a special focus on love
  • Assess the possible practical uses of a sociological study of the emotions

About this course:

Are feelings innate and universal or are they socially created and historically and culturally determined? Generally seen as individually and privately experienced, emotions actually are deeply social. They are embedded in, constitutive of, and created by social interactions, social structures, and institutions. This course examines the relatively new field of the sociology of emotions from a constructionist and interactionist perspective. Instruction addresses such issues as definition and labeling of emotions, social and cultural construction of emotion, sociohistorical contextualization of emotion, and possible practical uses of a sociological study of emotions. Our explorations focus on contemporary American society, but also include examples from other eras and cultures to illustrate the socially constructed, experienced, and expressed nature of emotions. Transferable for UC credit. 

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