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Feeling Rules, Atmospheres and Affective Practice: Some Reflections on the Analysis of Emotional Episodes

  • Margaret Wetherell

Abstract

One of the intriguing features of affect and emotion is that it can provide spectacular demonstrations of the limits of human agency. Affect can arrive ‘unbidden’, to use psychologist Paul Ekman’s (1994) term. We simply find ourselves ‘in a state’ (Baraitser & Frosh, 2007; also Probyn, 2005), taken over by grief, anxiety, rage or euphoria. Or perhaps we discover we are infused by some turbulence of body/mind that as yet has no shape, but which is intensely diverting nonetheless. The neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio (1999: 49), has argued that emotion could be as ‘uncontrollable as a sneeze’. The imminent and inconvenient arrival of strong affect, such as floods of tears, or the rise of panic, might be registered, but dodging or weaving is in vain. Distracting ruses fail, and affect itself has become the active agent.

Keywords

Social Practice Memorial Event Emotional Labour Practice Theory Flight Attendant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Margaret Wetherell 2013

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  • Margaret Wetherell

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