Emotions and Social Relationships
Also, you can cover emotions within intimate relationships, such as:
- Intimate love
- Maternal care-giving
- Affiliation and sexual relating
- Principles of sexual love
- Anger and contempt in marriage
- Friendship and gratitude
Another part to cover is emotions of assertion within groups, such as cross-cultural variations in the management of anger, cultural codes and gender relations. And finally, emotions between groups, that would include intergroup conflict, violence between societies, disgust and contempt.
How can we come to an understanding of emotions as social? How does the sociological explanation of emotion differ from a psychological explanation? Psychology and biology assume that emotion is physiological, uncontrollable, and not governed by social rules. A sociological approach to emotion asks - why is emotive experience predictable, patterned, and part of the social order? The individual often works on inducing or inhibiting feelings so as to render them "appropriate" for the situation. We have the capacity to shape emotion, and that we shape emotion according to social rules. There are conventions of feeling which we may only be aware of if they are broken (feeling norms) Social order is supported by emotion management. We try or try not to feel in ways appropriate to the situation Emotion management shows that the individual is social.
Approaches to Emotion in Relation to Society
There are 2 possible approaches to emotion, as it relates to society:
- The Organismic model
Social factors stimulate primary (non-reflective) emotions. Emotions are passively experienced by the individual. Emotion is an instinct or impulse; biologically given. In this model, social factors can only stimulate emotion, and shape how it is expressed. Social factors are not seen as an influence on how emotions are actively suppressed or evoked (how we work to feel the right feelings or suppress the wrong feelings). No feeling rules would be possible here because the organismic model assumes that individual does not have the capacity to try to feel or try not to feel. This perspective also assumes that emotions are culturally universal.
- The Interactive model
How social factors affect what people think and do about what they feel (acts of reflection and emotion management).Emotions are a social object, in Mead's sense. In the interactive account of emotion social influences are part of every aspect of emotion. Thinking, perceiving, imagining are involved in feeling emotion, and norms and the definition of the situation (socially situated factors) influence feeling. Emotion from this point of view is deeply social. Social factors enter not only before and after, but also during the experience of emotion. We can't reflect on emotion without a cultural context. The interactive explanation of emotion is supported by the Sachter and Singer (1963) experiment. The organismic account has been challenged in experimental work by Sachter and Singer (1962). In experiments, epinephrine (a stimulus) was administered to subjects (male undergraduates). Sachter and Singer concluded that emotion has a physiological basis as a heightened, but undefined arousal that is then shaped into specific emotional experiences in the context of social interaction. This view of emotion assumes that emotions are more alike than different, physiologically and has been used to support symbolic interactionist work on emotions it supports the assumption that we treat emotions as a social object and consciously reflect on our emotions.
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