International Journal of Group Tensions

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 29–38 | Cite as

Princess Diana and the Emotionology of Contemporary Britain

  • W. Gerrod Parrott
  • Rom Harré


The death of Princess Diana in August, 1997 was followed by a remarkable outburst of mass emotion throughout the world, but particularly in Britain. This included visits to London by more than two million people. Several interpretations and explanations of this mass public phenomenon are examined, including the idea of a pilgrimage. After comparing this phenomenon with classical accounts of collective acts we develop our own explanation in terms of changing norms of emotional display, emotionology, which links the Diana mourning with parallel political changes in the United Kingdom. The ephemeral character of the “Diana phenomenon” is evident in the marked decline of interest in the course of a year.

Emotionology emotional display English Royal Family mass psychology 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Gerrod Parrott
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rom Harré
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgetown UniversityWashington
  2. 2.Linacre CollegeOxford
  3. 3.Georgetown UniversityLinacre CollegeOxford

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