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Emotions

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Handbook of Social Psychology

Abstract

This piece reviews theory in research in the sociological social psychology of emotions. We discuss the definition of emotions, how emotions are typologized, research methods used in the study of emotions, and the association between biology, culture, and emotional experience. We then review several theoretical perspectives on emotions, including (1) classical sociological theory, (2) social structural theory, (3) emotion management and labor, (4) identity theory, (5) interaction theories, (6) phenomenological theory, (7) social exchange theory, and (8) evolutionary social psychological theory. We conclude with a discussion of recent trends in the study of emotions, including the association between emotional experiences and place, and emotions as performative.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There is much overlap between the sociological social psychology of emotions and the sociology of emotions. However, the sociology of emotions also includes theory and research regarding how macrosociological phenomena and processes influence and are influenced by emotional experiences. Readers interested in more macrosociologial approaches to emotions should consult Turner and Stets (2005).

  2. 2.

    According to Kemper (2007, p. 101), an other having excessive status is a somewhat “null category” since status is freely given.

  3. 3.

    Hochschild’s (1983) concept of feeling rules has a family resemblance to Ekman’s (2003) concept of display rules (see section “Typologizing Emotions” above). While both are concerned with the normative aspects of emotional displays, the concept of feeling rules highlights the norms that influence the emotions people actually experience.

  4. 4.

    Although Hochschild’s (1983, p. 147) concept of emotional labor refers to labor done by employees to create particular emotional states in other persons, we use the term more broadly here to refer to any emotion management performed at the workplace.

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Acknowledgments

 We would like to thank John DeLamater and Amanda Ward for their helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of the manuscript. We would also like to thank Elizabeth Schewe for proofreading assistance and Nick Sienza for reference assistance.

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Sharp, S., Kidder, J.L. (2013). Emotions. In: DeLamater, J., Ward, A. (eds) Handbook of Social Psychology. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6772-0_12

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